Study identifies safe medications to use in treatment of COVID-19
LONDON, UK: Since the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 there have been speculations that the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could worsen the course of COVID-19. However, a recent study conducted by researchers from King’s College London and Guy’s and St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT), has found that there is neither evidence for nor against the use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for patients infected with COVID-19.
A total of 89 existing studies on other coronavirus strains such as MERS and SARS, as well as the limited literature on COVID-19, were analysed to find out if certain pain medications, steroids, and other drugs used in patients with pre-existing medical conditions should be avoided if they got infected with COVID-19.
“This pandemic has led to challenging decision-making about the treatment of COVID-19 patients who were already critically unwell. In parallel, doctors across multiple specialties are making clinical decisions about the appropriate continuation of treatments for patients with chronic illnesses requiring immune suppressive medication,” said senior-author Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck, associate professor in cancer epidemiology at King’s College.
Other types of drugs such as TNF blockers and JAK inhibitors, used to treat arthritis or other forms of inflammation, were also found to be safe. Another class of drugs known as anti-interleukin-6 agents is being investigated for helping fight COVID-19, although there is no conclusive proof yet.
The researchers found that low amounts of prednisolone or tacrolimus therapy may be helpful in treating COVID-19. “Current evidence suggests that low dose prednisolone and tacrolimus therapy may have a beneficial impact on the course of coronavirus infections. However further investigation is needed,” commented senior-author Dr Sophie Papa, clinical reader in immuno-oncology and consultant medical oncologist at King’s College London and GSTT.
The study, titled “Associations between immune-suppressive and stimulating drugs and novel COVID-19—a systematic review of current evidence”, was published online on 27 March in ecancermedicalscience.