10 January, 2018
In a small study involving 31 healthy men with ages ranging from 18 years old to 35 years old, scientists gave some subjects 600 milligrams of ibuprofen twice a day for six weeks. No direct effect on fertility was shown, but the results of this initial study suggest that it warrants further investigation.
Erma Z. Drobnis, a University of Missouri, Columbia, professor who specializes in fertility, says this study is important, given how common ibuprofen is, even with such a small sample size.
The researchers found that, compared with the placebo group, the men who took ibuprofen experienced a 23 percent increase in levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) - a hormone that's secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulates the production of testosterone - after two 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.
Aspirin, the best-selling NSAID on the US market, was initially linked to stomach problems but was thought to be otherwise safe.
The human brain compensates for testosterone deficiency by producing luteinizing hormone (LH), which sends a signal to the testicles to produce more testosterone.
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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. The study reports that the condition is "associated with adverse reproductive and physical health disorders". Each dose was 600mg, equivalent to three over-the-counter pills.
"The safety and efficacy of active ingredients in these products has been well documented and supported by decades of scientific study and real-world use", he added.
In addition to limiting fertility, ibuprofen or NSAIDS, may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
This study might be especially troubling for athletes; Bernard Jégou, one of the study's co-authors, told CNN that many athletes take ibuprofen regularly to combat the aches and pains that accompany their sport, and warns that long-term usage like this could do irreversible damage.
To avoid these side-effects, doctors caution against taking Ibuprofen for more longer than ten days in a row, per the FDA's warning.