The official guidance on how to treat coronavirus symptoms at home has changed again, with patients now being told they can take either paracetamol or ibuprofen.

It comes after the NHS recommended paracetamol as the painkiller of choice last month, amid suggestions that anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen could make Covid-19 infection worse.

A national shortage of paracetamol was reported soon afterwards.

This week new advice was issued to the NHS after the Commission on Human Medicines carried out an expert review on the safety of ibuprofen.

The review concluded that “there is currently insufficient evidence to establish a link between use of ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and contracting or worsening of Covid-19”.

Current advice to the public is therefore that: “Patients can take paracetamol or ibuprofen when self-medicating for symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever and headache, and should follow NHS advice if they have any questions or if symptoms get worse.”

The new advice has been signed off by NHS England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

There are more details advice on the government website, including information concerning patients with stomach, kidney and heart problems.

Experts told FactCheck last month that paracetamol is generally less likely to cause side-effects than anti-inflammatory drugs.

NHS advice not updated

The NHS web page advising patients on the use of paracetamol had not been updated to reflect the new advice, several days after the change of policy.

At time of writing, the page still said “take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus”.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care told FactCheck the advice to use paracetamol or ibuprofen was “the latest position” and that they would contact the NHS to get the web page updated.