The use of certain painkillers – which are commonly used by rugby players – have been warned against after a link has been drawn between them and a potentially lethal interaction with COVID-19.

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The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in rugby is rife, with many players taking over the counter medications like ibuprofen and diclofenac for everyday injuries sustained while playing the sport.

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But now the French Department for Health are warning against a potentially dangerous interaction between the everyday drugs and COVID-19.

French Health Minister, Olivier Véran: “The taking of anti-inflammatories [ibuprofen, cortisone … ] could be a factor in aggravating the infection. In case of fever, take paracetamol. If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ask your doctor’s advice.”

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The COVID-19 outbreak has decimated the rugby schedule and left major doubts over some of 2020’s biggest events, with all major rugby tournaments other than the Gallagher Premiership now suspended. That tournament is set to be suspended as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Officials are meeting on Monday to discuss the immediate future of the competition and are expected to pre-empt government advice and cancel the season until further notice.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: “The welfare of fans, players and staff is our first concern and it’s crucial to get these important decisions right.

“We are working closely with our own medical experts, DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and Public Health England and our clubs. That advice will allow us and our clubs to make a well-informed decision in the coming days.

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“Today’s Premiership Rugby Cup final has been postponed, so it’s sensible to wait for latest advice so we can make an informed decision for the rest of the season, in the coming days.”

SANZAAR made the decision to suspend the 2020 Super Rugby tournament at the conclusion of this weekend’s matches for the foreseeable future.

The Six Nations game between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff on Saturday was postponed on Friday, joining the games between France and Ireland and Italy against England.

The Guinness PRO14 was suspended indefinitely.

Sunday’s Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale and Harlequins was originally given the go-ahead on Friday, only to be postponed following an individual on staff developing symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

– additional reporting, Press Association

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