A new study is hinting that a common over-the-counter painkiller, ibuprofen, may be linked to a male reproductive disorder. While the study uses a pretty small sample of male subjects, it’s backed up by a set of consistent experiments from isolated cells, and earlier studies had hinted there might be something strange here.
The good news is that the problems required multiple weeks of constant ibuprofen use, so there’s no indication that handling the odd muscle ache or hangover with ibuprofen will cause problems. The bad news is that ibuprofen is one of a large class of related drugs that includes aspirin, and the likelihood that other drugs will have similar effects is high.
Ibuprofen belongs to a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs. This group includes aspirin, and it generally works by blocking the production of hormone-like signaling molecules called prostaglandins, thereby cutting down on pain and inflammation.