Ibuprofen could impact liver health

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A new study in mice suggests that ibuprofen, perhaps the most common pain medication, may affect aspects of liver health.

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According to recent research in mice, ibuprofen is more likely to damage the liver than doctors currently suspect.

Ibuprofen is a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). In the United States, pharmacies tend to sell the Motrin or Advil branded versions.

In the United States and other countries, ibuprofen is readily available over the counter. People tend to use it to relieve pain or symptoms of a mild cold.

Like any other medicine, ibuprofen can have side effects. One of them is liver damage, although this is rare.

And now, a new study in mice – conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis – suggests that ibuprofen’s detrimental effect on liver health may be greater than doctors suspect.

“The liver plays a key role in energy metabolism and is essential for the homeostasis of the whole body. [the stabilization of bodily functions] via the regulation of the metabolism of glucose, lipids and amino acids ”, explain the researchers in their study document, which appears in Scientific reports.

The liver is the body’s key filter, processing the building blocks of everything we ingest, including drugs. Therefore, drugs can have unwanted effects effects on the liver.

To determine the true ability of ibuprofen to cause liver problems, the researchers regularly administered moderate amounts of ibuprofen to mice for 1 week.

The dosage of the drug was the equivalent of an adult human taking about 486 milligrams of ibuprofen per day.

At the end of the week, investigators used advanced mass spectrometry – a set of techniques that allow scientists to establish the ratio and type of chemicals present in a lab sample at any given time.

The researchers used this method to assess the effects of ibuprofen on liver cells in mice.

“We found that ibuprofen caused much more changes in protein expression in the liver than expected,” says study co-author Professor Aldrin Gomes.

The changes were different, depending on the sex of the mice. In male livers, researchers have observed changes in at least 34 metabolic pathways, including those that help regulate certain essential components of health: amino acids, hormones, vitamins, and the release of reactive oxygen and peroxide. hydrogen in cells.

When poorly regulated, hydrogen peroxide can damage proteins and put stress on liver cells, affecting organ health, the researchers say.

Meanwhile, in female mice, but not in males, the ibuprofen diet increased the activity of certain cytochromes P450, a class of enzymes that contribute to drug breakdown.

“The [observations about] Cytochrome P450 could mean that other drugs taken with ibuprofen could stay in the body longer in men, and this has never been shown before, ”says Professor Gomes.

Based on the team’s findings, he advises people to take ibuprofen with caution – making sure not to take more than the recommended dose and, ideally, refraining from using the drug if symptoms do not occur. are only light.

“No drug is perfect, because all drugs have side effects. However, many commonly used drugs, such as ibuprofen, are overused and should not be used for certain conditions, such as mild pain.

– Prof. Aldrin Gomes

Additionally, the research team stresses the need for more investigation of how drugs affect men, compared to women, as there may be key differences in metabolism between the sexes.


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