Men who take ibuprofen are at risk for fertility problems, study says

Scientists analyzed the hormones and blood of a group of 31 healthy white men between 18 and 35 years old over the course of six weeks.

The study also investigated several other hormones produced by the testes that were found to be reduced by ibuprofen.

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 has always been a drug of choice for chronic pain and arthritis.

Half the group took 600mg of ibuprofen twice a day - the maximum recommended dose in the 800mg up to four times a day - for 2 weeks. To compensate, the pituitary gland stimulates production of more testosterone - but eventually, the mechanism wears out and levels of the hormone drop throughout the body.

Infertility in men can be caused by a variety of factors including trauma, genetic and hormonal disorders, age, weight, smoking, drug and alcohol use, and environmental toxins.

For now you don't need to worry unless you're a daily user of ibuprofen, and even then, more research will be needed before everyone's shouting about the dangers of painkillers.

Such a condition is the result of the body increasing testosterone production because the testes stop producing adequate levels of it. In common terms, the man's testicles don't secrete enough testosterone and the ability to produce sperm is impaired. 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.

"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.

The other 17 men in the study took a placebo.

The new study is a continuation of research that first began with pregnant women, Jégou told CNN, in which the researchers examined the health effects when a mother-to-be took one of three mild pain relievers found in medicine chests around the globe: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen.

'Through a clinical trial with young men exposed to ibuprofen, we show that the analgesic resulted in the clinical condition named "compensated hypogonadism" - a condition prevalent among elderly men and associated with reproductive and physical disorders, ' explains Dr David Kristensen, of Copenhagen University.

  • Aubrey Nash