Men's sex drive, fertility under threat by painkiller
POPPING pills to cure the age-old romance-killing headache could lead to even more problems in the bedroom.
A new study reveals popular over-the-counter painkiller Ibuprofen could also be killing male sex drives and fertility.
Researchers at University of Copenhagen found taking as little as six tablets of the non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug had a negative effect on male sex hormones and that the damaging side-effects of prolonged use of 1200mg of Ibuprofen daily over six weeks could include erectile dysfunction, muscle loss and depression.
The University of Copenhagen study tested the painkiller on 31 healthy young men aged between 18 and 35, who took three tablets twice a day for six weeks.
Scientists also studied the pain reliever's effects on testicular cells.
After two weeks, participants developed hypogonadism, a sexual hormone dysfunction which affects the sex hormones regulating the production of testosterone.
Lower levels of testosterone associated with hypogonadism can also cause development of breast tissue as well as decreases in body hair and muscle mass.
Hormone and testosterone symptoms disappeared once participants stopped taking Ibuprofen, but the study's authors expressed concern that the condition could become permanent in those taking the anti-inflammatory long-term.
"Ibuprofen appears to be the preferred pharmaceutical analgesic for long-term chronic pain and arthritis.
Therefore, it is also of concern that men ... may eventually progress to overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterised by low circulating testosterone and prevalent symptoms including reduced libido, reduced muscle mass and strength, and depressed mood and fatigue," the research team warned.
"Our data demonstrated that Ibuprofen alters the endocrine system via selective transcriptional repression in the human testes, thereby inducing compensated hypogonadism."
AMA NSW president Brad Frankum said the findings "warrant further study".
"There has not been a lot of research on that area before so we don't know for sure whether it's specific to Ibuprofen or the whole group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," he said. "It's a very preliminary study that looked at a small number of men, in a very limited time and with a high dose of the drug."