Medications in COVID-19 patients: summarizing the current literature from an orthopaedic perspective

Int Orthop. 2020 Aug;44(8):1599-1603. doi: 10.1007/s00264-020-04643-5. Epub 2020 May 22.


Purpose: The review aims to provide a summary of the current literature regarding common medications prescribed in orthopaedic surgery and their potential implications in COVID-19 patients.

Methods: A systematic review was performed using the PRISMA guidelines. All clinical studies, reviews, consensus and guidelines related to the above medications and COVID-19 were included.

Results: A total of 18 articles were included. The use of analgesia, anti-inflammatories, steroids, anticoagulants, antibiotics, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin D and their potential impact on COVID-19 patients were reported.

Conclusion: Eight main recommendations were derived from the review. Firstly, paracetamol remains the first line of analgesia and antipyretic. Secondly, there is no need to avoid NSAIDs for COVID-19 patients. Thirdly, opioids have the potential for immunosuppression in addition to respiratory depression and, therefore, should be prescribed with care in COVID-19 patients. Fourthly, patients with conditions where steroids are proven to be efficacious can continue to receive their steroids; otherwise, systemic steroids are not recommended for COVID-19 patients. Fifthly, orthopaedic surgeons following up on COVID-19 patients who are using steroids should continue to follow them up for possible avascular necrosis. Sixthly, whenever possible, oral anticoagulation should be converted to parental heparin. Seventhly, common orthopaedic antibiotics including penicillin and clindamycin are safe to continue for COVID-19 patients. However, for COVID-19 patients, the antibiotics can potentially be switched to macrolides and tetracyclines if the organisms are sensitive. Lastly, prescription for vitamins B, C and D should continue as per usual clinical practice.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Medications; Orthopaedics.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Humans
  • Orthopedic Procedures*
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral*
  • SARS-CoV-2