Animal Study Finds Ibuprofen for Pain Relief Can Cause Liver Damage

PainRelief.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Livers from young mice (8-week-old) treated with moderate amounts of ibuprofen (equivalent to 400-500mg/day in humans) for 7 days showed increased oxidative stress (which can damage and even kill cells).

Other ibuprofen induced changes include increased fatty acid oxidation, and modified amino acid and glucose metabolism. Ibuprofen also altered steroid and vitamin metabolism as well as increased oxidative stress.

Another main finding is that livers from male and female mice showed different responses to ibuprofen. For example, one of the subunits of the ATP synthase complex that generates ATP in the mitochondria is reduced in male mice and increased in female mice compared to control mice not treated with ibuprofen. Lower levels of ATP are typically associated with increased oxidative stress.

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The side effects of ibuprofen not only include heart dysfunction but also liver injury and possibly damage to other organs not yet investigated.

It is best to use ibuprofen or any other NSAID for as short a time and at the lowest dose possible.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research will focus on methods to reduce the side effects of NSAIDs as well as  sex related differences.

Further research is needed to see if lower amounts of ibuprofen could be used together with certain natural products to relieve pain and inflammation in humans. In mice extra virgin olive oil and ibuprofen used together showed a synergistic effect on reducing pain and inflammation (doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.13105).

PainRelief.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Experimental data is already available to show that many naturally available fruits (such as cherries (doi: 10.3390/nu10030368) have anti-pain and anti-inflammatory properties that may be able to substitute for NSAIDs for mild pains.

No disclosures.

Citation:

Tiwari, S., Mishra, M., Salemi, M.R. et al. Gender-specific changes in energy metabolism and protein degradation as major pathways affected in livers of mice treated with ibuprofen. Sci Rep 10, 3386 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60053-y

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The information on PainRelief.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.