Bernard Jégou, a senior author on the study at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, said that he believes that there is no problem in people taking ibuprofen to alleviate pain in the short term but he warns against taking the drug for months on end if it was not absolutely necessary.
Now, before you panic, there's no suggestion yet that occasionally relying on an ibuprofen will make your balls shrivel up and die. Epidemiological studies have shown that NSAID exposure was associated with reduced testosterone and congenital malformations; another study showed a drop in a testosterone metabolite among men who were taking ibuprofen regularly.
'Ibuprofen appears to be the preferred pharmaceutical analgesic for long-term chronic pain and arthritis. Fourteen of them took a daily dosage of ibuprofen that many professional and amateur athletes take: 600 milligrams twice a day.
The researchers found that prolonged ibuprofen use suppressed "important aspects of testicular function, including testosterone production".
On its own, a study this small would be little more than a call to do more detailed studies.
Infertility in men can be caused by a variety of factors including trauma, genetic and hormonal disorders, age, weight, smoking, drug and alcohol use, and environmental toxins.
However, despite the change in LH levels, the men's testosterone levels didn't change. Each dose was 600mg, equivalent to three over-the-counter pills. Sold under the brand names Advil or Motrin, ibuprofen is a member of the class of drugs known as NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Pregnant women are increasingly advised to avoid ibuprofen during late pregnancy because it has been associated with increased complications for both mother and baby, including decreased amniotic fluid and potential heart problems in the baby. The condition arises when the body has to boost levels of testosterone because normal production in the testes has fallen. The other half took a dummy (placebo) tablet.
The findings are certainly significant, as the 1,200mg of ibuprofen given to the participants each day is far below the suggested daily maximum of 3,200mg per day.
This led, they said, to compensated hypogonadism, a condition linked to reproductive and other health problems normally found in elderly men.