In a desperate attempt to avoid the coronavirus or to make existing infections worse, arthritic patients are looking for alternative treatments for their ailment. Some even consider bizarre ones, such as the industrial lubricant, WD-40, in place of ibuprofen.
Many now fear the effects of the over-the-counter drug after previous speculations by scientists that it could make coronavirus symptoms worse. Ibuprofen has long been the drug of choice of arthritis, which many rely on to be able to walk without going through excruciating pain.
Sid Dajani, a pharmacist in Hampshire and former treasurer of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said that mixed messages about ibuprofen have caused people to avoid the drug altogether. According to Daily Mail, some have resorted to alternatives that seem rather odd, such as snake oils, aloe vera, and even the industrial degreaser, WD-40.
He adds that despite the NHS' latest advisory stating the drug is safe to take, sales remain to be at around a third of their normal levels.
Allegations on Ibuprofen Gone Wrong
Worries about the drug started on March 14, when Olivier Veran, the French health minister said ibuprofen could aggravate coronavirus infections.
His comments are thought to be partly planted by remarks coming from an infectious diseases doctor. He mentioned about four young COVID-19 patients with no underlying health conditions developing severe symptoms after taking ibuprofen. A letter that had been published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine three days earlier might have also caused him to believe this.
On March 16, the authors released a clarification statement saying they had merely been proposing a 'suspicion'. The following day, however, the NHS advised people with COVID-19 symptoms to avoid taking ibuprofen and instead use paracetamol.
Advice shifted again in April after the Commission on Human Medicines concluded that there is insufficient evidence that ibuprofen makes people more likely to catch COVID-19 or worsen its symptoms.
Alternative Remedies Thought to Help Against Arthritis
It has been reported that some were even using WD-40 on their joints, thinking that it will ease stiff joints the same way it loosens stubborn locks. Others tried using aloe vera while some went searching online for other adventurous remedies such as snake oil lotions and potions.
Dajani described how upsetting it is to see patients in pain turn to unproven or dangerous remedies when ibuprofen could help them. He describes the event as a tragedy that should not be happening.
Dr. Taher Mahmud, a consultant rheumatologist from the London Osteoporosis Clinic, said that it was 'very sad and concerning' that patients are utilizing faulty home remedies such as WD-40.
Experts believe that there is a distinct concern when it comes to pre-print and early drafts of medical and scientific papers that have not been peer-reviewed. These kinds of studies are particularly being given undue weight during the pandemic, being an easy target for criticisms and early speculations.