This OTC Medicine May Keep You Safer From COVID, New Study Says

The everyday pills can help lower the risk of infection and shorten recovery time.

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are there for you whenever you have a headache, fever, or runny nose. But it turns out that one of the most basic everyday pills could play a big part in protecting you from the pandemic. According to a recent study from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, taking daily low doses of aspirin could help keep you safer from COVID. Read on to see what this regimen could do for you, and for more important OTC information, check out This Is When You Should Take Tylenol Instead of Advil, Doctors Say.

Researchers found that taking a daily regimen of aspirin lowers the risk of catching COVID.

Pills of aspirin and advil on white background
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To test their hypothesis that aspirin might have a "beneficial effect on COVID-19 susceptibility and disease duration," researchers analyzed data from 10,477 Israeli patients who were tested for the virus between February and June of 2020. Results showed that those already on a low-dose aspirin regimen to prevent other heart health issues—which is typically considered 75mg per day—were 29 percent less likely to contract COVID than patients who were not.

Researchers were cautiously optimistic with their findings. "This observation of the possible beneficial effect of low doses of aspirin on COVID-19 infection is preliminary but seems very promising," Eli Magen, PhD, the study's leader from the Barzilai Medical Center, said in a statement.

Aspirin regimens can also shorten recovery time for COVID patients

Idar-Oberstein, Germany - May 7, 2014: One Aspirin tablet, containing 0.5 gram of acetylsalicylic acid as active pharmaceutical ingredient, located on its blister pack with ten tablets. Aspirin is one of the most common and used pharmaceutical drugs worldwide. In 1897 Aspirin was first synthesized by the german company Bayer. It was mainly used to relieve pain and aches, but today it is also known to help to lower the risk for strokes, heart attackes and maybe some type of cancer if taken in low dosis regulary. This packaging is the one being sold in Germany.
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Besides staving off infection, the study also found that those taking aspirin saw other COVID-related benefits as well. Patients taking daily low doses of the drug also appeared to kick the virus more quickly, testing negative for COVID two to three days sooner on average than patients who were not taking aspirin, WebMD reports.

"The present study sought to better understand the potential favorable effects of aspirin in aiding the human immune system battle COVID-19," Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, MD, from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University, said in a statement. "We intend to investigate a larger cohort of patients and in randomized clinical trials." And for more on major medical updates, check out If You Take This Medication, U.S. Officials Have a New Warning for You.

Another study found aspirin could reduce the risk of severe COVID

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Another recent study has also found that taking a daily aspirin could help the fight against COVID in more than one way. Researchers from George Washington University considered data from 400 patients admitted to hospitals across the U.S. between May and June of 2020 to find that those on an aspirin regimen were 43 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU, 44 percent less likely to be placed on a ventilator, and 47 percent less likely to die from COVID than patients who weren't taking the pill.

"As we learned about the connection between blood clots and COVID-19, we knew that aspirin—used to prevent stroke and heart attack—could be important for COVID-19 patients," Jonathan Chow, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and director of the Critical Care Anesthesiology Fellowship at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said in a statement. "Our research found an association between low dose aspirin and decreased severity of COVID-19 and death."

Aspirin could be a "low cost, easily accessible" treatment option for COVID patients.

senior man sitting alone in his kitchen and taking pills
katleho Seisa / iStock

Researchers from the George Washington University study pointed out that their findings warrant further research, given that the drug in question could be hugely helpful in fighting the disease. "Aspirin is low cost, easily accessible, and millions are already using it to treat their health conditions," said Chow. "Finding this association is a huge win for those looking to reduce risk from some of the most devastating effects of COVID-19." And for more on warning signs your medicine habits could be giving you, check out If You're Taking This OTC Medicine More Than Twice a Week, See a Doctor.

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Zachary Mack
Zachary covers beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He's the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in New York City and is a Certified Cicerone. Read more
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