Tylenol vs. Advil for Coronavirus Care

You may be told the best course of action is to self isolate and care for yourself at home. 

Under normal circumstances your health care provider would likely advise you to manage a fever with alternating doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen. 

But nothing is normal. 

On March 14, the health minister of France warned the world: “Stay away from drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin.”

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said it was aware of no research showing that ibuprofen should not be taken by patients with COVID-19.

There’s no time for tests or trials in this not-normal era. 

NOTE: Advil is ibuprofen, which is part of a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs). Aspirin is also an NSAID. Neither Advil or aspirins (like Bayer or Excedrin) contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Tylenol does not contain ibuprofen and is not an NSAID.

That said, most experts agree there is no scientific evidence at this point to support claims that iIbuprofen worsens symptoms of coronavirus.

But each fever and every patient is unique. And everyday we learn new things.

Here’s what I would tell you today

Manage a low fever as best you can while using the least amount of fever reducers possible — to give your body an opportunity to fight the virus.

For a high fever — especially for high risk people, children, pregnant women etc., — you’ll want to be sure to manage that with a fever reducer, start with acetaminophen.

Again, if you think you have coronavirus, reach out to your provider.

The best way to contact us is through the patient portal.

And here’s the CDC’s full recommendation on how to care for yourself if you’re sick, or suspect you are sick, with coronavirus. 

Take care,
Paul Koelliker, M.D.