What Is the Recommended Pain Reliever for COVID-19?

Medically Reviewed on 5/7/2021
pain relief
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen can all be used for pain relief from COVID-19

Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can all be used for pain relief from COVID-19 if they are taken in the recommended doses and approved by your doctor.

Early on in the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended using acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen for managing symptoms of COVID-19 or side effects from vaccination. However, researchers have found little to no evidence that one type of pain reliever is riskier than another.  

While recommendations related to the management of COVID-19 are rapidly changing, most doctors still prefer acetaminophen over ibuprofen. If you cannot take acetaminophen or experience no relief from symptoms despite taking the maximum dose (3,000 milligrams a day), you can take ibuprofen instead.

Are pain relievers safe?

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medications help manage symptoms such as muscle aches, headache and fever by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins that cause inflammation in the body.

These medications are safe as long as you follow the prescribed dosages or label instructions. Overdose of pain relievers can lead to side effects such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

You should ask your doctor before taking OTC pain relievers if you:

  • Are taking any other medications
  • Have health conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease or peptic ulcers
  • Are over the age of 65

Do pain relievers help prevent COVID-19?

Pain relievers cannot prevent or treat the COVID-19 virus itself. They only help relieve the symptoms of COVID-19 and make you more comfortable. Symptoms may include:

What are treatment options for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a novel disease, and treatment options are still being explored. Several drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to relieve symptoms and control the damaging effects of the virus in the body. 

As active research is being conducted, treatment options for COVID-19 continue to expand.

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Medically Reviewed on 5/7/2021