A study presented at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2015) indicates that use of some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could have a negative impact on female fertility, even with short-term use.

Lead investigator Professor Sami Salman, of the Department of Rheumatology at the University of Baghdad, Iraq, and colleagues enrolled 39 women of childbearing age who suffered from back pain for this research. Participants received diclofenac 100mg once daily, naproxen 500mg twice daily, etoricoxib 90mg once daily, or placebo for 10 days from day 10 of the onset of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone level and follicle diameter analysis were assessed by blood samples and ultrasonography, respectively.All of the women in the control group ovulated, but the dominant follicle remained unrupted in 75% of the women taking diclofenac, 25% in those taking naproxen, and 33% in those taking etoricoxib.

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The findings suggest that these NSAIDs should be used with caution in women who wish to conceive, as effects were seen after only 10 days. Female patients with rheumatic disorders should be advised by their clinicians on the potential effect of these pain medications on ovulation.

For more information visit EULAR.org.