Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NSAIDs: Take 'em early and often when competing? Think again

Date:
December 18, 2009
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Athletes' superstitions and rituals can help them get psyched up for contests, but when these rituals involve NSAIDs, which many athletes gobble down before and during events, they could be causing more harm than good. Such misuse can cause problems such as interfering with healing and inhibiting the body's ability to adapt to challenging workouts, to the development of stomach ulcers and possibly an increased risk for cardiovascular problems, says sports medicine expert.

Athletes' superstitions and rituals can help them get psyched up for contests, but when these rituals involve non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which many athletes gobble down before and during events, they could be causing more harm than good.

Related Articles


"These agents are treatments for the symptoms of an injury, not the injury itself," says Stuart Warden, whose research at Indiana University focuses on musculoskeletal health and sports medicine. "They may allow an athlete to exercise or train at a certain level, but pain occurs for a reason. It is basically the body's mechanism of saying, 'Hang on, you've got some sort of injury that should not be ignored.'"

NSAIDs are recommended for use after an injury to reduce swelling or pain. Studies have found that many elite athletes, however, take these over-the-counter drugs -- and often several different kinds -- before contests and challenging workouts because they think they will reduce anticipated inflammation and soreness that could occur after the event.

Warden says there is no scientific evidence for this prophylactic use of NSAIDs. Such misuse, however, can cause a range of problems, from interfering with healing and inhibiting the body's ability to adapt to challenging workouts, to the development of stomach ulcers and possibly an increased risk for cardiovascular problems, says Warden, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The larger the dose and the longer duration of NSAID use, the greater potential for these risks. Warden warned against the misuse of NSAIDs in an editorial published earlier this year in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

"I want people, including recreational athletes, to think about the perceived benefits versus potential risks of taking NSAIDs, and to ask themselves why they are taking these agents," said Warden. "They need to ask, 'Do the benefits outweigh the risks?"

  • Background. NSAIDs interact with the body's chemistry at a cellular level by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (COX) isozymes. The COX isozymes are critical for the synthesis of prostaglandins, which have important functions in the gut and cardiovascular system, as well as during inflammation and the adaptive response of the musculoskeletal system to stress. NSAIDs may reduce pain and inflammation following injury by inhibiting COX isozyme-induced prostaglandin synthesis; however, as they circulate within the body indiscriminately, rather than localizing to the source of an athlete's specific aches and pains, they may produce undesirable side effects. With regular misuse, athletes face extreme and severe risks, such as the development of ulcers, potentially fatal problems with renal blood flow, and increased risks for cardiovascular problems. On a lesser scale, they could actually increase their risk for injuries because their bodies are less able to adapt to rigorous workouts -- and healing could take longer.

    Warden said NSAIDs should be taken as directed -- in the recommended dosages and for no more than a week after an acute injury that involves swelling and pain.

    "But to take the drugs before every run and throughout the year is a concern. You need to think of pain not as a hindrance, but as a signal that something is not quite right," he says, adding that, "NSAIDs should not be used at the expense of a thorough assessment of an injury by a trained professional, such as a physical therapist or physician."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Prophylactic misuse and recommended use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs by athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, August 2009. Vol. 43. No. 8

Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "NSAIDs: Take 'em early and often when competing? Think again." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216104348.htm>.
Indiana University. (2009, December 18). NSAIDs: Take 'em early and often when competing? Think again. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216104348.htm
Indiana University. "NSAIDs: Take 'em early and often when competing? Think again." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216104348.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins