The HSE has disputed a “fake news” message making the rounds on WhatsApp about the covid-19 virus.
The message claims that using drugs like difene and ibuprofen makes covid-19 symptoms worse, and proposes the use of physiotherapy as a treatment for the disease. It claims to be supported by a “specialist” at Cork University Hospital.
The message has been refuted by the HSE, the Infectious Disease Society of Ireland and Cork University Hospital itself.
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) March 15, 2020
Clinical Lead for the HSE, Dr. Colm Henry, said that medical experts widely agree that there is little to no data to support the claims about ibuprofen and difene’s effects. Dr. Henry told the Irish Examiner that the WhatsApp message was “complete lies”, warning: “False messaging like this greatly harms our collective ability to fight this virus.”
He also responded to France’s Health Minister, Olivier Véran, who recently tweeted that the taking of anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and cortisone could be a factor in aggravating infections.
⚠️ #COVIDー19 | La prise d'anti-inflammatoires (ibuprofène, cortisone, …) pourrait être un facteur d'aggravation de l’infection. En cas de fièvre, prenez du paracétamol.
Si vous êtes déjà sous anti-inflammatoires ou en cas de doute, demandez conseil à votre médecin.
— Olivier Véran (@olivierveran) March 14, 2020
Dr. Henry replied that this is not the current medical advice in Ireland, and though there was no set treatment for the virus as of yet, paracetamol should be used as the initial treatment for covid-19 fever and pain symptoms, and the second measure should be ibuprofen. He finished by recommending that people seek advice from their doctor or pharmacist regarding the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.