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COVID-19 drives demand for Tylenol up

Tracked to an unsubstantiated claim in a tweet from a French official

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

There's a lot of information out there about the coronavirus. Some of it is true and some is false. There have been claims circulating that ibuprofen has a bad effect on the progress of patients with COVID-19. Local 24 News turned to the experts for an answer.

It started with a tweet from the French Health Minister recommending Tylenol over other anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. The claim was that Ibuprofen could aggravate coronavirus symptoms.

"So far, there's no conclusive evidence that this is supported," said Dr. Chasity Shelton, Assistant Dean for Student Success and UTHSC Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science Associate Professor, Pediatric Pharmacy Association Member.

"Initially, when the report first came out, the World Health Organization issued a response saying that people should not use ibuprofen if they were suspected or confirmed with coronavirus. They've retracted that statement and are now kind of taking the stand that we don't have conclusive evidence to say yes or no that it's safe."

However, the word was already out in the public causing many to race to the shelves for Tylenol. 

"I'm sure people are starting to panic because I know the demand for Tylenol production has increased. The manufacturer, Johnson and Johnson, has reported a surge in demand," said Dr. Shelton. 

Manufacturers are working to make more of the regular tablets as well as the liquid version or children's Tylenol. 

"I think it's really important for people to understand that we kind of need to reserve the liquid products for the children and also elderly patients who aren't able to take something like a tablet," said Dr. Shelton.

At the end of the day, there is always one option that is best. 

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"It's really important for patients to talk to their pharmacists and or their physicians and primary care providers in order to determine which of those products might be the best for them individually," said Dr. Shelton.

Dr. Shelton said there needs to be more research done in order to determine how ibuprofen affects coronavirus symptoms.