A large new study found no indication that use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen increases people's vulnerability to infection by the new coronavirus.
Because early reports had suggested such a link, researchers used the COVID Symptom Study smartphone app to query more than 2.7 million individuals in the United States, the UK and Sweden about their use of aspirin and other NSAIDs, as well as about virus symptoms, COVID-19 testing, and healthcare seeking behavior.
Close to 9,000 participants reported a positive COVID-19 test during the study, according to a report posted on medRxiv in advance of peer review.
After accounting for individuals' lifestyle factors, other illnesses, and symptoms, regular use of NSAIDs was not associated with a higher risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus.
"There have been lingering concerns" that commonly used NSAIDs "could increase the risk of COVID infection or worsen the disease course among those who acquire the infection,"said coauthor Dr. Andrew Chan of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
"Our study shows that there is no such an association and initial concerns were probably due to the fact that individuals with other risk factors for COVID or symptoms of COVID were more likely to take NSAIDs, rather than a cause and effect relationship," he said.