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New French test checks if medicines worsen Covid-19

The French government is urging people to check if their regular medication could unwittingly worsen Covid-19 symptoms, and has created a new online tool to help you check.

The online simulator is here (in French).

It is only for use by people who are showing suspected signs of Covid-19, including a dry cough, fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, aches and pains, or breathing difficulties.

Users can enter the name of a medication, whether it is on prescription or not, and whether it is taken daily or near-daily for the treatment of a long-term, chronic illness.

The simulator then reveals if the medication can be taken safely, or if it could worsen the symptoms of Covid-19.

The simulator comes as the public is advised to avoid ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) in case of Covid-19 symptoms.

Patients are instead recommended to take paracetamol (always respecting the stated dose).

Read more: Covid-19: 'Ibuprofen can worsen infection'

Read more: France limits sale of paracetamol due to Covid-19

Read more: Covid-19: Medicines to avoid, after French man dies


Do not stop prescription medication without medical advice

Patients taking prescription medication for long-term conditions - including NSAIDs - should not stop taking it without first seeking rapid advice from their GP or medical practitioner, regardless of the simulator results.

For people with asthma - taking treatment such as Flixotide, Flixovate, Sérétide, or Relvar - are advised to neither reduce nor stop taking their medication, even if they suspect Covid-19 symptoms.

This is because a viral infection such as Covid-19 can be especially dangerous for people with asthma, and cause a fatal asthma attack.

People with chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart problems or kidney conditions should not stop their treatments either, without seeking advice from their GP. This includes aspirin (under brand names such as Kardegic, Aspirine du Rhône, or Duoplavin), which can help avoid cardiovascular problems.

Another online test

The new medication test comes after medical research centre l’Institut Pasteur and hospital group les Hôpitaux de Paris (APHP) created a new online tool to enable people to check if they have Covid-19 symptoms.

The test is supported by the ministry of health. It is here (in French). 

It asks the user 23 questions on their health condition and symptoms, including their body temperature, whether they have a cough, and if they have lost their sense of smell or taste.

Read more: Covid-19: Loss of smell can be symptom

The site then reveals if the user’s symptoms sound serious enough to require instant medical attention, and whether the user should call their GP or even the SAMU 15 emergency number.

The user can retake the test in the hours and days that follow, if their condition changes or worsens.

As with the first test, this test also advises patients that its advice does not constitute or replace the advice, exam, diagnosis, prescription or any other treatment or counsel given by a real, trained doctor, medic or pharmacist.

Conclusions given by the online tools should be considered a suggestion only, and should not be considered a replacement for advice given by a doctor, pharmacist, or other health professional.

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