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Medicine Science

Ibuprofen Linked To Male Infertility, Study Says (theguardian.com) 131

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Men who take high doses of ibuprofen for months at a time may be at greater risk of fertility issues and also other health problems, such as muscle wastage, erectile dysfunction and fatigue, scientists have found. Research on healthy young men who took the common painkiller for up to six weeks showed that the drug disrupted the production of male sex hormones and led to a condition normally seen in older men and smokers. The 18 to 35-year-olds who took part in the study developed a disorder called "compensated hypogonadism" within two weeks of having 600mg of ibuprofen twice a day. The condition arises when the body has to boost levels of testosterone because normal production in the testes has fallen. Doctors in Copenhagen who led the study said that while the disorder was mild and temporary in the volunteers, they feared it could become permanent in long-term ibuprofen users. This would lead to continuously low levels of testosterone, because the body could no longer compensate for the fall. Details of the study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Ibuprofen Linked To Male Infertility, Study Says

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    so much for that excuse gents.
  • by Only Time Will Tell ( 5213883 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @09:13AM (#55892499)
    I am curious if this effect is limited to ibuprofen or if other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aleve (naproxen) or ketoprofen affect male reproduction as well. I'm sure there will be additional studies, but if these effects are repeated, they will likely be discontinued given they already have the propensity for stomach ulcers and other side effects.
    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Nearly all pain killers effect testosterone levels to some degree, everything from ibuprofen to naproxen to tramadol, and mixes like acetaminophen/oxy, acetaminophen/tramadol, etc. The urologist I go to tells patients to avoid lyrica and won't prescribe it for example, since he saw large drops in testosterone in the blood. It was a go to medication a few years ago for boys who had testicular torsion, since it did a great job of dulling the nerves from the swollen testicle. I'm sure you can see the prob

    • I am curious if this effect is limited to ibuprofen or if other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aleve (naproxen) or ketoprofen affect male reproduction as well. I'm sure there will be additional studies, but if these effects are repeated, they will likely be discontinued given they already have the propensity for stomach ulcers and other side effects.

      If that was the case, we would no longer be taking asprin. Given the profit still left to be had here, and given the name recognition built up over years, I think we can safely say that we will be seeing ibuprofen and all the current NSAIDs for a long time no matter how bad it gets.

      • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @11:06AM (#55893249) Journal

        People who are taking NSAIDs like Ibuprophen for a long period of time aren't doing it for fun or minor boo boos, they are in serious pain. So this is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

        Take myself for example, I have to take NSAIDs because I bounced down a two lane at 65 MPH+ when a dog ran out in front of my bike when I was 16. The docs told me then that even though I didn't break any bones the amount of damage to the joints caused by the impact would mean later in life I would be seriously suffering and they are right, when the weather is cold or damp it feels like someone is jamming needles into my knees and wrists and the swelling makes even simple tasks seriously hard.

        Now do I like hearing this about Ibuprofen? No but frankly I'd rather go to my doc and ask her whether I should get testosterone than not be able to walk or use my hands. Without NSAIDs my knee and wrist joints simply do not work, even if you took away the pain the inflammation would keep me from doing much. Tylenol can help with the pain but does squat for the swelling, aspirin can cause serious bleeding, out of the current choices we have ibuprofen and naproxen are probably the safest bets for the millions of us who have serious joint damage and which are not good candidates for joint replacement.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          NSAIDs aren't the thing you take for "serious" pain.

          They will also destroy your other organs if you treat them like candy over long periods of time.

          Pretty much any drug taken regularly will do this and you need to be under sufficient medical supervision to ensure this doesn't happen. Pretty much every drug needs to be treated as harmful by default and we tend to take the exact opposite view as a society.

          • I have Tramadol, and it sucks compared to 800 ibuprofen, the prescription strength.

            2 weeks of that will kill bursitis in your shoulder. Try it out.

            Anyway I don't take 800 except rarely but I will take 200 or 400 once a day.

            • by MercTech ( 46455 )
              Yes, Tramodol is for pain. You need something to reduce the inflammation and NOT more and more pain killer. My primary care needs to be beat up with a clue bat. They keep upping pain killer dosage and canceled the NSAID prescriptions. But, 600mg of ASA 4 times a day works.
        • There are some non-drug alternatives for dealing with inflammation that have seen positive results from research, namely foods with high amounts of anthocyanins.

          As an example: "Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial":
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874510/ [nih.gov]

        • by piojo ( 995934 )

          Without NSAIDs my knee and wrist joints simply do not work, even if you took away the pain the inflammation would keep me from doing much.

          Have you looked into sub-psychoactive doses of certain old drugs, like DOM or DOI? These are being researched for their anti-inflammatory properties by Dr. Charles Nichols (interviewed about it here [smartdrugsmarts.com]). I'd like to try it myself for some inflammatory injuries, and some drugs in that family aren't even scheduled! The problem is that they're not really used for anything except research, so they would be very hard to acquire.

          I'd feel somewhat safe taking them therapeutically, since they used to be used as party

        • Better find a male doctor. Ten years ago at 55 I hurt all over and felt so depressed I had to quit work. I had been taking 1600 mg a day of ibuprofen. I told my female doctor I needed extra testosterone. Tests were done and she decided I was low but "within range". After eight years and another female doctor I finally was seen by a male doctor. It took him one minute to diagnose low testosterone. He explained I was on the low end but everone's reaction is different, I needed mid-range to function. Within m
        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

          The symptom set described in TFS screams "thyroid impact" -- at a guess, it accelerates the natural decline of thyroid production, leading to the assorted side effects (including testosterone deficiency). Meaning it should be treatable the same way you'd deal with ordinary hypothyroidism.

          Anyone over 50 should have an annual thyroid profile anyway (the whole set, not just TSH test). Most of what we attribute to "aging" is actually age-related hypothyroidism. For any chronic condition, ALWAYS look at thyroid

    • I would doubt it very seriously. Yes this is a side effect, but many would not care. Women, men using it temporarily, men who simply would rather live with the side effect than remain in pain.
      As a side note, I think I remember reading some research that semi regular use of NSAIDs is actually linked to a lower risk of dementia

      There is no such thing, as a completely safe, non addicting, highly effective pain reliever. If such a thing is ever developed it would revolutionize medicine and make it's inventor bi
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @09:22AM (#55892525) Homepage Journal

    That sounded great for a second, until they got to ED. I'd love to be cheaply infertile, but I want my pecker to work, if not my gonads.

  • by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @09:39AM (#55892583) Homepage

    This would have been useful information 20 or so years ago...

    • It's a quality of life question. Does the use of ibuprofen, with its side effects, give you a better or worse quality of life?
  • With already lower testosterone levels than men, this sounds like a prescription for Vaginile Dysfunction.

    • Actually, it makes it an even better ingredient in PMS drugs - since that's peak testosterone time.

  • Motrin is a US Army joke going back decades that it cures everything. Also called Ranger Candy cause the joke is the Army Rangers train so hard they take it all the time for your normal injuries and aches

    • Joke? That's no joke, it's medical care in the military. Go to the Medics, get Motrin. Who cares that it was for a cold or a sprain or a missing limb. The wonder drug cures all, or at least lets the medics feel like they did something.
  • Next month someone will say the opposite. Move along, nothing to see here.
    • Of course someone will say the opposite. I'm sure Pfizer (owners of the Advil brand) already have their people writing the papers.

      While this study may or may not actually be right, you really aren't stupid enough to believe you can read an occasional headline in pop-media and think you know what is going on in the scientific community are you?

      And you aren't stupid enough to think most studies are published as pure unbiased science without pushing corporate agendas, are you?
  • I knew someone in high school who took Ibuprofen all the time. I think she took it for headaches and then didn't realize just how much she was taking.

    No over the counter drug is probably safe for extended long term use. If you're seriously using it that long, you need to find out what else is wrong.

    • An OTC drug can be perfectly safe for extended long term use -- but should only be done under a doctor's supervision.
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > An OTC drug can be perfectly safe for extended long term use -- but should only be done under a doctor's supervision.

        Those two statements are inherently contradictory.

        A drug by definition is meant to "mess you up". It should be pretty obvious that anything that can have a useful effect on your body will also likely disturb it as well.

        Assuming that things are harmless is very dangerous.

        • A drug by definition is meant to "mess you up". It should be pretty obvious that anything that can have a useful effect on your body will also likely disturb it as well.

          Probably, but the body also has self-healing capability, and if the amount of damage the drug causes is well below the healing ability it's likely to be safe.

  • Ibuprofen has had several advantages because it has such a wide dosage range between minimally effective, maximally effective, and toxic/damaging. Even taking 2400 mg per day (maximally effective prescribed dosage) seems to be well below the point where any organ damage is generally observed. OTOH, for acetaminophen, taking the maximum effective prescribed dosage of 3250 mg/day seems pretty close to the level at which damaging effects are observed in kidneys and perhaps the liver. Now, with this result, are
    • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @10:19AM (#55892825)

      Now, with this result, are we back to aspirin?

      You must be new to American healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, you simply don't stop taking something like ibuprofen just because your testosterone levels may become permanently damaged. That would be stupid, but more impotently, it would wreak havoc on stockholder returns. No, the impudent thing to do is to simply keep taking it and add an additional drug to block the side effects that is patented and protected. Being able to skyrocket the price of a 12 cent generic medication, that nearly all Americans take and many rely on, to over 17 dollars is sheer financial genius and a winning example of what you can achieve with capitalism in charge of healthcare.

      • Now, with this result, are we back to aspirin?

        You must be new to American healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, you simply don't stop taking something like ibuprofen just because your testosterone levels may become permanently damaged. That would be stupid, but more impotently...

        I see what you did there...

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        ... but more impotently, ...

        Please tell me that wasn’t a typo!

      • then it does with people taking excessive amounts of OTC drugs to cope with pain instead of seeing a doctor about that pain. In America unless you're in the top 5% you don't just go see a doctor. You weigh the cost in terms of co-pay, deductibles, time off work (we don't get very much of it) etc, etc. With all those costs you just pop another Advil and hope for the best.
        • top 5% only see doctors

          How is the work down on the docks, comrade?

      • by Rande ( 255599 )

        12cents? Damn, here in the UK it costs 53p for a box of 16 which I previously thought was cheap. And 10 times more in Ireland.

        • It's not 12c, at least not in bulk
          Generic ibuprofen can be bought for less than 1 cent a pill
          https://www.costco.com/Kirkland-Signature-Ibuprofen%2C-200-mg.%2C-1%2C000-Tablets.product.11489095.html
          • True, but it also sells 2 pills for us$ 1.79 in gas stations or other convenience locations. Further, it costs $10-20 per pill in hospital settings like an ER. An ER bill for Ibuprofen could easily run $300 for a single visit, patients may be responsible for paying the full amount in America if they don't have the right coverage.
      • What on earth are you talking about? Is your point that this study is bogus, and that patients should continue taking ibuprofen because it's cheap? That pharmaceutical companies shouldn't do research into compounds that would offset this apparent side effect? That such a drug wouldn't be worth giving to patients, no matter what the monetary cost?

        There's an interesting conversation to be had in weighing the cost of drugs against their efficacy. Your comment, a logically incoherent rant that seems primaril

        • Your comment, a logically incoherent rant that seems primarily aimed at hitting all the squares of "mod me up!" buzzword bingo, does not contribute to it.

          Thank you for your droll review of my word craft. The OP really did seem to be unaware of how things work here, and an incoherent rant primarily aimed at hitting all the squares of "mod me up!" buzzword bingo, as it relates to the article, was not only what I intended, but is actually succinct, only slightly hyperbolic simile.

  • I bet they can find a bio-similar drug that avoids the more permanent/serious issues and simply prevents fertility.

    • If so, rest assured the religious nutjobs will try what they can to keep it from becoming widespread. You can't just screw around without fearing at least consequences if you can't be swayed to fear their imaginary buddy.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's called soy. Apparently.

      • It's called soy. Apparently.

        Several studies suggest that eating too much soy will cause cancer in men though, especially prostate cancer. I, for one, simply cannot digest it, so I won't try to eat it anyway.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Unfortunately it seems to be a vital component of Brain Force Plus, which I consume in industrial qualities. That's why I'm, like, a genus and very stable.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      I think they'd need to find something more targeted than just interfering with testosterone production. That hormone does a lot of other desirable things besides generate baby seed.

  • There's a reason those large 800mg Motrin pills are called "Ranger Candy". I've seen MDs "prescribe" those horse pills scooped out of a cardboard box and into a plastic bag with a large metal scoop. Looked exactly like a kid buying jelly beans in bulk from a candy store.

    Wonder if this latest research will affect the mentality in those high-speed low-drag military units where they tend to eat these things like candy.

    Sadly, infertility is probably a better alternative than getting hooked on opium from Dr. P

    • Not just Ranger Candy - it's been the cure-all for aches and pains among athletes for YEARS, since the only 'real' side effects have been Stomach/Intestinal problems for older people. When I was actively playing Football in HS/College, I was taking 2400mg/day (with a doctor's blessing) without *any* concern. It's been my go-to treatment for knee and back problems as I entered my 30's (albeit at a much lower dose.) Stacking it and CBD is almost as effective for me as stacking it and Percocet for short-term h

  • clickbait headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @11:05AM (#55893231)

    look, 1200mg is VERY high dosage!

    I take 2 200mg pills every day, matter of course, for joint pain (I'm over 50) and at first, I was concerned, but when I read the dosage they were taking, I 'stopped reading there' (as the kids say).

    slash is getting so sleazy these days.

    the correct headline is: MASSIVE dosage of advil can cause problems. leave out the adjective and the article is a lie.

    typical of slash and media these days. accuracy never matters anymore, just clicks. sigh.

    • by hawkfish ( 8978 )

      look, 1200mg is VERY high dosage!

      I take 2 200mg pills every day, matter of course, for joint pain (I'm over 50) and at first, I was concerned, but when I read the dosage they were taking, I 'stopped reading there' (as the kids say).

      slash is getting so sleazy these days.

      the correct headline is: MASSIVE dosage of advil can cause problems. leave out the adjective and the article is a lie.

      typical of slash and media these days. accuracy never matters anymore, just clicks. sigh.

      It depends on how sensitive you are to the drug. When I broke my collarbone about 30 years ago, they gave me some codeine, which made me throw up. The fallback was to take 100mg of ibuprofen every hour (2400mg/day) for about a week. Ever since then, I've had to take 800mg just to get rid of a headache. I've tried 600mg and it doesn't work (FWIW I weigh about 190# and am pretty active).

      So while you may be lucky enough to get by on 400mg/day, not everyone can.

    • by xfade551 ( 2627499 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @12:51PM (#55894027)
      That number 1200mg sounds like ridiculously high dosage, until you realize it's typical for U.S. military physicians to prescribe a dosage of an 800mg pill x 3-4 times/day. Same goes for discharged veterans getting medical care from VA hospitals.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      1200mg per day is "massive"? Hardly. It's just 2 pills taken 3 times a day (once each meal). Not only is that perfectly normal, but I've been told by doctors to take at least that much, if not more (e.g., 3-4 pills taken 3 times a day) for weeks on end in various cases. It's well within the accepted range.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If by MASSIVE you mean the recommended maximum dosage on the package?
      I have a packet of generic ibuprofen right here: 2 x 200mg 3 times a day = 1200mg

    • No its the highest recommended dosage by manufactures. At the recommendation of doctors I have taken dosages even larger than that.

      However when I've taken it at such high dosages it was for acute temporary pain (i.e. injury trauma). However once past the hump which is probably measured in days, or perhaps a week, dosage down to more reasonable levels for a few weeks.

      Sure if you take it for months at a time it probably isn't so good for you. Though at a guess if you are, likely the alternative isn't great ei

    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      1200 mg/day is the standard dosage for over-the-counter ibuprofen. Prescription can be more than 2.5 times that.
  • just wondering if the mechanism that makes this work could be used elsewhere. Not that you could just prescribe a tone of ibuprofen, it's got as ton more (and worse) side effects than this in high doses. But I don't think there's been nearly enough research on a male pill.
  • Lots of women take ibuprofen during their period for cramps.
  • ... a Pill for men.

  • Joke's on you all. I'm allergic to Ibuprofen. Take that.
  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @02:45PM (#55895165) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like it takes care of two headaches at once.

  • Painkillers make you a girly wuss

    Suck it up, be a man

    Pain is just weakness leaving the body

  • That's the real question: why are men taking high dosages for that long? If they're in that much pain, they're not going to be real interested in sex, anyway.

    On the other hand, if you're taking it for bad headaches... and you regularly work 60+ hour weeks, perhaps you should consider cutting back to 40 hours, and getting enough sleep.... (Or are you actually an indentured servant?)

    • I agree. It really depends on what they're taking it for. If it's just headaches and they work too much, they should consider a different job if they can't cut back the hours. I know several guys that need to rethink their life because they work themselves to death everyday and they aren't in a position to where they need to do so with family and kids to take care of for example.

      It's good to shoot for the sky (or space), but you need to be able to enjoy life too. It's usually younger guys that make the mist

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