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Ibuprofen can damage men’s endocrine system

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Staff Writer | February 20, 2018
Ibuprofen can reduce the production of testosterone in men, shows new research.
Drugs   Ibuprofen knocks endocrine system out of balance
Taking the painkiller daily for just two weeks resulted in a hormone imbalance among young male participants that more closely resembled that of older men whose testes produce less testosterone, say the scientists behind the study.

“It’s worrying because it’s important that men’s testosterone levels are stable. Otherwise, it can lead to problems with, for example, muscle development, mood, and potency,” says David Møbjerg Kristensen, a senior researcher at the Danish Headache Center at Rigshospitalet and co-author of the new study,which is published in the scientific journal PNAS.

Kristensen and colleagues conducted both a randomised control trial and laboratory experiments, which showed that ibuprofen can reduce the testes’ ability to create testosterone.

In the randomised trial, 31 men between the age of 18 and 35 were split into two groups. One was given 600 milligrams of ibuprofen every day for 44 days. The other group received a placebo.

Throughout the trial, scientists measured the content of luteinizing hormone (lutropin) in the participants’ blood samples.

Lutropin indicates how much testosterone is produced by the testes, says Kristensen.

When less testosterone is produced, the brain tries to compensate by emitting large amounts of lutropin. This sends a message to the testes to produce more testosterone. So, elevated levels of lutropin in the blood indicates lower testosterone production.

The 14 male trial participants who received ibuprofen all had elevated levels of lutropin after just two weeks.