Over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Nurofen), naproxen (Synflex) and diclofenac (Olfen, Remethan, Vokam, Voren, Voltaren, Zolterol).
Because previous studies had suggested a potential relationship between inflammation and erectile dysfunction, the researchers thought the use of NSAIDs could be inversely associated with erectile dysfunction.
Researchers enrolled more than 80,000 men from the Kaiser Permanente research centre in California who were aged between 45 and 69 in 2002. NSAID use was gathered from prescription data and the presence of erectile dysfunction was self-reported.
After adjusting for potentially confounding variables like age, race, ethnicity, smoking and body mass index, there was a positive association between NSAID use and erectile dysfunction, with regular use increasing the likelihood of the condition by 38% compared to non-users.
Steven Jacobsen, an epidemiologist and director of research for Kaiser Permanente, said NSAIDs have ‘many proven benefits’, but concluded: ‘People shouldn’t stop taking them based on this observational study. However, if a man is taking this class of drugs and has erectile dysfunction it’s worth a discussion with his doctor.’
Gleason JM, Slezak JM, Jung H, Reynolds K, Van Den Eeden SK, Haque R, Quinn VP, Loo RK, Jacobsen SJ. Regular Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use and Erectile Dysfunction. J Urology, published online February 21, 2011
Wikipedia defines a prospective cohort study as a cohort study that follows over time a group of similar individuals ("cohort") who differ with respect to certain factors under study, in order to determine how these factors affect rates of a certain outcome.
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Alternatives to oral NSAIDs
To minimise intake of NSAIDs, you can opt for the topical NSAIDs containing diclofenac (Panaflex, Voltaren Emugel) ketoprofen (Fastum Gel) or piroxicam (Rhumagel).
NSAID-free Menzza OA contains 0.025% capsaicin derived from chillies. Capsaicin reduces the amount of a neurotransmitter called substance P, which is thought to release inflammation-causing enzymes and trigger pain impulses to the brain.
Other alternatives supported by Level 1 or Level 2 evidence include exercise, curcumin, glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids.
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