Ibuprofen is probably one of the most common painkillers out there. It seems to be used for many situations, but apparently it's doing a lot more to r bodies than curing r headaches. A new research study has found that the drug is not as harmless we people previously thought.
In a study conducted at the University of Copenhagen, doctors wanted to see how continuous intake of ibuprofen would affect healthy men, and the results were surprising.
The participants were between 18 and 35 years old, and were given 600 mg of ibuprofen twice a day for six weeks. At the end of the experiment they tested the men to see how it affected their reproductive health and they found that it had a dramatic impact on their chances of having children.
The patients actually developed a condition known as hypogonadism, which normally only occurs in elderly men. It appeared in a mild form, but it was enough to affect their fertility, which means that there are other people in the world who may be experiencing the same thing.
“Our immediate concern is for the fertility of men who use these drugs for a long time,” said David Møbjerg Kristensen from the University of Copenhagen. “These compounds are good painkillers, but a certain amount of people in society use them without thinking of them as proper medicines.”
There has been an increase of athletes using ibuprofen in excess, with nearly half FIFA World Cup players admitting to taking it every single day. While researchers say that it's fine to take every now and then for pain, using it every day is not a good solution.
“We normally see this condition in elderly men, so it raises an alarm,” researcher Bernard Jégou said. “We are concerned about it, particularly for healthy people who don’t need to take these drugs. The risk is greater than the benefit.”
The ibuprofen causes the levels of testosterone to fall, but the pituitary gland tries to make up for this so it activates other hormones to stimulate the production. “In the living body the pituitary gland kicks in to compensate for this, but the brain is pushing more to get the same amount of testosterone,” Kristensen said. “If you go on and stress the pituitary gland over the long term, this state could become permanent and you develop a more serious condition.”
“It’s a fascinating study that suggests that men should be cautious about using high doses of ibuprofen for extended periods," physiology professor William Colledge said. "Based on these data, I personally would be very reluctant to take ibuprofen for longer than the 10 days normally indicated on the packet.”
If you know someone who takes ibuprofen regularly without their doctor's advice, let them know that it might be dangerous to their health.