Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection causes acute lung injury, resulting from aggressive inflammation initiated by viral replication. There has been much speculation about the potential role of non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which increase the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a binding target for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to enter the host cell, which could lead to poorer outcomes in COVID-19 disease.

The aim of this study was to examine the association between routine use of NSAIDs and outcomes in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. This was a multicentre, observational study, with data collected from adult patients with COVID-19 admitted to eight UK hospitals. Of 1222 patients eligible to be included, 54 (4.4%) were routinely prescribed NSAIDs prior to admission. Univariate results suggested a modest protective effect from the use of NSAIDs, but in the multivariable analysis, there was no association between prior NSAID use and time to mortality (adjusted HR (aHR) = 0.89, 95% CI 0.52–1.53, 
p = 0.67) or length of stay (aHR 0.89, 95% CI 0.59–1.35, p = 0.58).

This study found no evidence that routine NSAID use was associated with higher COVID-19 mortality in hospitalised patients; therefore, patients should be advised to continue taking these medications until further evidence emerges. Our findings suggest that NSAID use might confer a modest benefit with regard to survival. However, as this finding was underpowered, further research is required.

Cite as

Bruce, E., Barlow-Pay, F., Short, R., Vilches-Moraga, A., Price, A., McGovern, A., Braude, P., Stechman, M., Moug, S., McCarthy, K., Hewitt, J., Carter, B. & Myint, P. 2020, 'Prior Routine use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Important Outcomes in Hospitalised Patients with COVID-19', Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(8), article no: 2586. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082586

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Last updated: 06 October 2022
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