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Project #40:
Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of death from COVID-19.


In the early pandemic, there have been concerns that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, etc.) may increase the risk of COVID-19 related death, but the evidence for this was lacking. This study investigated the routine use of NSAIDs and risk of COVID-19 related death using data from patients in a database covering 40% of the population of England.

In the first study we identified people with an NSAID prescription in the last 3 years from the general population. We compared the risk of COVID-19 related death among these people with those who were not prescribed NSAIDs.

In the second study we identified people with rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis and divided them into two groups: those who were prescribed NSAIDs and those who were not prescribed NSAIDS. We compared the risk of COVID-19 related death between these two groups.

In both studies we found no evidence of a harmful effect of routinely prescribed NSAIDs on COVID-19 related deaths. We concluded that becoming infected by COVID-19 should not influence decisions about the routine prescribing of NSAIDs.


  • Study leads: Angel Wong
  • Organisation: University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine