According to the European League against Rheumatism, drugs like etoricoxib, naproxen and diclofenac can inhibit ovulation after 10 days in women who suffer from mild musculoskeletal pain. Of the percentage of women who receive non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 6.3 take diclofenac, 25 take naproxen and 27.3 take etoricoxib.
The findings of this study show that over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines have the potential for harmful effects on a woman’s fertility and should be used with extreme caution.
After using these medications for just ten days, researchers witnessed a large decrease in progesterone, the hormone that’s vital for ovulation.
This occurred across all treatment groups in the study. Lead investigator Professor Sami Salman of the Department of Rheumatology at the University of Baghdad, Iraq states, “These findings show that even short term use of these popular, over-the-counter drugs could have a significant impact on a woman’s ability to have children. This needs to be better communicated to patients with rheumatic diseases, who may take these drugs on a regular basis with little awareness of the impact.”
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs are the most commonly used drug around the world and are taken by countless numbers of individuals each day. Because these drugs are easy to obtain and available without a prescription, people with rheumatic diseases commonly use them to alleviate pain.
Approximately 39 women of child bearing age who suffered from back pain took part in the study and received 100 mg of diclofenac once a day, naproxen at 500 mg twice a day and etoricoxib at 90 mg one time per day or a placebo. The treatment spanned ten days and from day ten of the onset of the menstruation cycle, hormone analysis and follicle diameter were tested via blood and ultrasound.
Upon the study’s conclusion, the dominant follicle remained unruptured in 75 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent of women who received diclofenac, naproxen and etoricoxib respectively. When a woman’s dominant follicle ruptures, it releases an unfertilized egg and it is imperative to ovulation for this to occur.
Half of the women participating in the study quit taking the NSAIDs and their progesterone levels returned to normal levels within a month. All of the study participants experienced a return of their normal menstrual cycle.
This most recent study was the first one done in many years that shows NSAIDs can reduce fertility. If you are a woman taking NSAIDs and having fertility issues, this is something you should speak with your doctor about.