Ibuprofen may increase risk of fertility issues in men, study suggests

Posted January 10, 2018

This condition is prevalent in elderly men and is associated with reproductive and physical disorders.

A research team gathered male volunteers between the ages of 18-35, and gave them daily doses of ibuprofen. "Taken together, these in vivo data suggest that ibuprofen induced a state of compensated hypogonadism during the trial..." the study states. The experimental group received ibuprofen twice a day for a total of six weeks and was tested for hormone levels at two and six weeks.

Researchers tested testicles from prostate cancer donors and cultured testes cells, which revealed that ibuprofen can affect hormones, suppressing production of testosterone through transcriptional repression, leading to compensated hypogonadism.

"It is sure that these effects are reversible", study author Bernard Jégou, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told CNN.

"Ibuprofen works really well as a painkiller and fever-reducing medicine, so there are of course a number of cases where taking it is sensible", he says. Before he stepped down in November 2016 he asked players about their use of over-the-counter painkillers and found that almost half of those who played in the past three World Cups took anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, every day. "We are concerned about it, particularly for healthy people who don't need to take these drugs".

To avoid these side-effects, doctors caution against taking Ibuprofen for more longer than ten days in a row, per the FDA's warning. "The risk is greater than the benefit".

The good news is that the problems required multiple weeks of constant ibuprofen use, so there's no indication that handling the odd muscle ache or hangover with ibuprofen will cause problems.

Ibuprofen is a popular over-the-counter drug used to alleviate pain, fever and inflammation - especially in cases of painful menstrual periods, migraines and rheumatoid arthritis.

Though the exact reasons for the decline are not yet known; in a recent study, researchers have linked male infertility to Ibuprofen - a common painkiller. Research released in February 2017 also found that it could increase the risk of heart attacks.

This study also looked at a couple of other hormones produced by the testes and found that they, too, were reduced by ibuprofen.