By RUTH MBULA
A new study has found that frequent intake of ibuprofen painkiller may lead to infertility among men.
The drug is often used by athletes, among other groups of people, to treat minor aches and is often used as an alternative drug by those sensitive to aspirin.
This could mean hundreds of athletes — including from Kenya — are at risk, though unaware of its side-effects.
Also, the study indicated that men who are used to over-the-counter drugs to relieve minor aches could be at a higher risk of suffering even more serious health problems.
Apart from pain, this drug is used to treat fever and inflammation.
“Use of over-the-counter ibuprofen results in a disorder in the human testis caused by a boost of the male hormones,” said the study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
The study, conducted by a group of Danish and French scientists, was carried out following concerns over declining male reproductive health.
It showed that the pain reliever affects the hormonal balance in adult men.
Men who take about 1,200 milligrams of ibuprofen a day experience hormonal imbalances that are associated with infertility, the researchers found.
“Our study addresses this issue by extending data showing anti-androgen effects of analgesics (compounds found in ibuprofen) and suggests that such compounds may be involved in adult male reproductive problems.”
The study recruited 31 male volunteers between 18 and 35 years.
Of these, 14 were given a daily dosage of ibuprofen and were given a 1200 mg-per-day dose.
This is the maximum limit as directed by the labels of generic ibuprofen products.
For the men taking ibuprofen, within 14 days, there was a sign of dysfunctional testicles.
Among the main brand names of ibuprofen are Advil and Motrin.
The research followed an earlier one that had found the testicles of male babies were affected by the use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
An earlier research published in the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy (EHJ-CVP) – also linked ibuprofen to increased risk of cardiac arrest.
The research warned that increased cardiovascular risk is a global concern because the drugs are widely used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and bring down temperature.
Yet another research indicated that infertility among African men was on the rise. Changed lifestyles had led to decline in sperm count by 57 per cent around the globe.