How High Doses of Ibuprofen May Impact Male Infertility

How High Doses of Ibuprofen May Impact Male Infertility

Researchers looked at 31 male participants and found that taking ibuprofen reduced production of testosterone by almost a quarter in the space of around six weeks. A new study says the well-known painkiller could cause fertility issues in males.

Ibuprofen belongs to a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, that work by blocking the production of hormone-like signaling molecules called prostaglandins, which theoretically reduces pain and inflammation. Men were then divided - 14 in an ibuprofen group, 17 in a placebo group.

Researchers even tested ibuprofen on "bits of human testes" collected from organ donors and saw the same result: The drug hampered testosterone output. The painkiller users could potentially face prolonged low testosterone levels after the body loses its ability to compensate, leading to a host of health conditions including muscle weakness and loss, low fertility, and other issues. Epidemiological studies have shown that NSAID exposure was associated with reduced testosterone and congenital malformations; another study showed a drop in a testosterone metabolite among men who were taking ibuprofen regularly.

Ibuprofen subjects were given 600 mg twice a day, or the equivalent of three pills.

Advil and Motrin are two brand names for ibuprofen.

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Typically seen in older men and smokers, the condition describes when the testes produce an insufficient amount of testosterone. The disorder is also linked to depression and strokes, as the study's authors note. (In culture, there are no cells to produce luteinizing hormone to compensate.) The researchers found that a number of genes involved in steroid synthesis were affected by 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.

Those in the ibuprofen group were given two doses of ibuprofen a day. In both cases, ibuprofen had a direct effect on the testicles.

It's also not clear whether the same hormonal effects would be seen in men taking lower doses of ibuprofen, or whether the effects are reversible, particularly in men who take ibuprofen for long periods, study co-author Bernard Jégou, director of the National Institute for Research on Environmental and Occupational Health in France, told CNN.

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