A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that ibuprofen, one of the most common over the counter pain medications sold, can change the physiology of male testicles, adversely affecting the reproductive capabilities of young men. Ibuprofen is considered a Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug (NSAID), and commonly sold over the counter under the brand names Advil and Motrin. NSAIDs like ibuprofen are also associated with other deadly side effects such as stomach bleeding, stroke and heart attack. NSAIDs like ibuprofen have been given a BLACK BOX WARNING by the United States Food and Drug Administration.


In this randomized controlled study, 31 male participants were given 600mg of ibuprofen twice daily or a placebo.  Within 14 days, the men taking ibuprofen experienced significant changes in hormone production leading to the condition known as compensated hypogonadism. This condition is associated with impaired fertility, depression and an increased risk for adverse cardiovascular events like heart failure and stroke.

Following the randomized, controlled clinical trial, the research team also conducted “ex vivo” experiments on male testes cells in a test tube and demonstrated that ibuprofen has a direct effect on testicles and testosterone production.

Even though this study is small, its importance cannot be understated because ibuprofen is among the most commonly used medications worldwide. Anyone interested in their reproductive health should be aware of this information and discuss alternatives with their healthcare provider. As a practicing rheumatologist and former director of the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, I often recommend alternative therapies to NSAIDs and Opioid analgesics for my patients. Although drugs and biologics can be very useful in clinical practice when appropriate, I have found that stretching, light to moderate daily exercise coupled with targeted nutritional therapies such as  Theramine or Trepadone are very beneficial for my chronic pain patients and do not cause the side effects commonly associated with drugs like ibuprofen.