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. 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.
The Danish and French study looked at 31 athletic men between the ages of 18 and 35.
Ibuprofen has been linked to fertility problems in men.
Next, the researchers tested the direct effect of ibuprofen on testicles, using samples that had been taken from organ donors.
The decreased ratio of testosterone to LH created a hormonal imbalance called "compensated hypogonadism" in the endocrine system, which regulates and controls hormones.
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This led, they said, to compensated hypogonadism, a condition linked to reproductive and other health problems normally found in elderly men.
The new study is a continuation of research that first began with pregnant women, Jégou told CNN, in which the researchers examined the health effects when a mother-to-be took one of three mild pain relievers found in medicine chests around the globe: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen. After 14 days of ibuprofen use, the researchers observed higher blood levels of luteinizing hormone, which regulates the production of testosterone and other hormones.
The adverse effects in the study weren't permanent. Over-the-counter pain-relieving analgesics like Motrin and Advil are some of the most commonly used pharmaceutical compounds in the world used to treat aches, pains, fever, and arthritis. "We are concerned about it, particularly for healthy people who don't need to take these drugs".
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. But they said they were anxious about the effect of ibuprofen on the fertility of long-term users, such as athletes.