A recent study published in the Proceeding of National Academy of Sciences investigated Ibuprofen’s effect on testicular function. Ibuprofen is one of the most commonly taken over the counter medications. Dr. Parviz Kavoussi, a leading male fertility specialist, was interviewed on ABC News to discuss this study. The authors of this study sought out to see if Ibuprofen has a bad impact on testicular function. This was a small study looking at 31 men, 14 of which took Ibuprofen 1200 mg daily and 17 of which were given a placebo (sugar pill). The men who took Ibuprofen were found to have elevated levels of LH in their blood. LH is the signaling hormone from the pituitary gland that tells the testicular cells to make testosterone. When the LH elevates, it is an indicator of diminished function of the testicular cells that produce testosterone. The LH elevates because the pituitary gland recognizes that the testicular cells are struggling to do their job and more LH is being secreted to try to make them work harder. This was the only clinical finding in the study. FSH levels, the signaling hormone telling the testicles to make sperm did not significantly change in the men taking Ibuprofen. The testosterone levels did not drop in the men taking Ibuprofen and semen analyses were not performed in this study to evaluate fertility potential clinically.
The study also looked at testicular tissue and cell cultures and noted that when Ibuprofen was administered to this tissue and cells, testosterone production decreased in this lab setting, but sperm production was not shown to decrease.
Dr. Kavoussi states, “This is an interesting study that raises an eyebrow but is certainly not definitive data to prove Ibuprofen is detrimental for sperm or testosterone production. Further studies are needed to help us understand the implications of this study, especially the LH rise.”