The study included 31 men, ages 18-35. The samples showed that applying ibuprofen triggered a dose-dependent drop in the production of testosterone within 48 hours. Some took 1,200 milligrams of ibuprofen daily, which is the maximum limit as directed, over a six-week period.
Ibuprofen belongs to a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, that work by blocking the production of hormone-like signaling molecules called prostaglandins, which theoretically reduces pain and inflammation.
The researchers also observed other hormonal disruptions at 14 and 44 days of ibuprofen consumption, suggesting wide-ranging consequences of hypogonadism. "Taken together, these in vivo data suggest that ibuprofen induced a state of compensated hypogonadism during the trial..." the study states.
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"We normally see this condition in elderly men, so it raises an alarm", Jégou said.
The researchers found that, compared with the placebo group, the men who took ibuprofen experienced a 23 percent increase in levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) - a hormone that's secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulates the production of testosterone - after two weeks.
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Ibuprofen was of particular interest, the researchers say, because of its increased use in the general population in professional athletes around the world. So, for the time being, I would urge men who need to take ibuprofen to continue to do so.
They found that all three drugs are "anti-androgenic", meaning that they can disrupt male hormones, as David M. Kristensen, study co-author and a senior scientist in the Department of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital told CNN. Long term, it can lead to a more serious condition called overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterized by low testosterone and libido, depressed mood and reduced muscle mass and strength.
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The study only focused on a small group of participants, so more research will be needed before the affects of ibruprofen are fully established. A similar study in 2016 also found that the common painkiller could exacerbate heart failure.