Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, prostaglandins, and COVID-19

Br J Pharmacol. 2020 Nov;177(21):4899-4920. doi: 10.1111/bph.15206. Epub 2020 Aug 27.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a highly pathogenic and sometimes fatal respiratory disease responsible for the current 2020 global pandemic. Presently, there remains no effective vaccine or efficient treatment strategies against COVID-19. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medicines very widely used to alleviate fever, pain, and inflammation (common symptoms of COVID-19 patients) through effectively blocking production of prostaglandins (PGs) via inhibition of cyclooxyganase enzymes. PGs can exert either proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects depending on the inflammatory scenario. In this review, we survey the potential roles that NSAIDs and PGs may play during SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development and progression of COVID-19. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed issue on The Pharmacology of COVID-19. To view the other articles in this section visit

Keywords: COVID-19; NSAID; SARS-CoV-2; cytokine storm; inflammation; prostaglandin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / virology
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Prostaglandins / administration & dosage
  • Prostaglandins / pharmacology
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Prostaglandins