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Ibuprofen and intestinal injury

Issue 38 Synovium (Spring 2013)

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A paper in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise1 has demonstrated more potential hazards of NSAIDs to the gut. The authors had previously demonstrated that exercising to exhaustion for an hour causes temporary small intestinal injury and loss of gut barrier function (by measurements of plasma intestinal fatty acid binding protein and urinary excretion of ingested sugars respectively). In the current study 9 trained and healthy men were assessed for gastrointestinal injury and small intestinal permeability on 4 occasions: after (1) cycling having taken ibuprofen, (2) cycling without ibuprofen intake, (3) a period of rest having taken ibuprofen, and (4) rest without ibuprofen intake. The results demonstrated that taking ibuprofen increased the previously demonstrated temporary small-intestinal injury and gut permeability induced by exhaustive exercise. It is well known that many sports persons regularly take NSAIDs with the notion that this may reduce the experience of musculoskeletal pain during and after training and competition. This study suggests that this practice should be discouraged.

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