Is Anything Safe?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by reducing

'How does this work? I've recently retired from Congress and am not quite sure how to pay for things with my own money.'

hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Ibuprofen is used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury.(1) Ibuprophen is sold under the brand names Advil, Motrin, Medipren and Nuprin, among others.

Ibuprophen was the cureall for anyone needing pain relief and unable to take aspirin. Maybe not so much. Recent reports suggest issues with excessive use of Ibuprophen, and excessive is a term left to be precisely defined.

  • An exploratory study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences links ibuprophen use with loss of fertility in males in their 20s. The study author is “sure” that short term effects are reversable, but there is no indication of whether the effects of long term use can be corrected. Of course, athletes are heavy users of this drug. (2)
  • Medscape offers a somewhat more intimidating list of issues with NSAIDs in general, not just ibuprophen.

“Most NSAID exposures are mild-to-moderate ingestions with low levels of symptom severity that include general gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, and mild chemistry and electrolyte abnormalities that resolve rapidly with supportive care. In large ingestions, some patients may develop an altered level of consciousness evolving to coma with progressive and sometimes refractory metabolic acidosis and evolving multisystem organ failure.”

So, use with caution, but only when really needed.  Didn’t a coach tell you that a little bit of pain is good for you?


  2. MedicineNet, “Study Links Ibuprofen With Male Infertility,”
  3. Timothy J Wiegand, MD, et. al., Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Toxicity,” 20 December 2017.

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