Ibuprofen may be causing infertility in young men, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed a small sample of young men who took ibuprofen daily in small doses and found that they developed a hormonal condition in middle age, CNN reports. This condition is linked to a reduction in fertility.
Advil and Motrin are two brand names for ibuprofen, which can be bought over-the-counter as a pain reliever, and is typically used by athletes.
Mike Tringale, a spokesperson for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group that represents over-the-counter medications manufacturers, said that the organization “supports and encourages continued research and promotes ongoing consumer education to help ensure safe use of OTC medicines.” Tringale added,
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.
This research is a continuation of a study that began with rpegnant women, according to Bernard Jégou, co-author on the study and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France.
Jégou and a team of French and Danish researchers had been examining the health effects any one of three mild pain relievers on pregnant women: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen.
The early experiments showed that when these medicines are taken by expectant mothers, they have an effect on the testicles of male babies. The drugs are all “anti-androgenic,” meaning they disrupt male hormones, said David M. Kristensen, study co-author and a senior scientist in the Department of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital.
In addition, these medicines can even increase the possibility that male babies would be born with congenital defects, Kristensen noted. The team focused on ibuprofen and its effects on adults as further research.
They found that among 31 male volunteers ages 18 to 35, those taking ibuprofen saw a drop in their luteinizing hormones. These hormones stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone. The resulting imbalance produced a condition called compensated hypogonadism, which is associated with lower fertility, depression and an increased risk for cardiovascular events like strokes or heart failures.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.