Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Painkillers taken before marathons linked to potentially serious side effects

Date:
April 20, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Attempts to ward off pain in marathons and other endurance sports by taking over the counter painkillers may be ill advised, because these drugs may cause serious side effects in these circumstances, suggests new research.

Attempts to ward off pain in marathons and other endurance sports by taking over the counter painkillers may be ill advised, because these drugs may cause serious side effects in these circumstances, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Many competitors try to prevent pain interfering with their performance by taking painkillers that are readily available in pharmacies and supermarkets, say the authors.

And in a bid to find out what impact these common drugs might have, the authors quizzed participants in the 2010 Bonn Marathon/Half-Marathon about their use of medication and any symptoms they had during and/or after the race.

In all, just under 4000 (56%) of all 7048 competitors returned their online questionnaires. Most (87%) had run marathons before.

Of those who took painkillers before the race, 1 in 5 said they also used painkillers during training to curb or ward off pain; 1 in 10 said they had pain symptoms before the start of the race. This compares with 1% of those who didn't touch painkillers.

Over half the drugs taken (54%) were bought over the counter without a prescription, and included diclofenac, asprin, and ibuprofen.

The numbers of those forced to withdraw during the race because of pain and other health symptoms differed little between those who took painkillers and those who didn't.

But withdrawal from competition because of gastrointestinal problems was significantly more common among those taking painkillers, and while withdrawal as a result of muscle cramps was rare, it was significantly more common in those who had taken these drugs.

Runners who popped painkillers were five times as likely to experience symptoms as those who didn't take these drugs; the overall difference in risk was 13%.

Symptoms included stomach cramps, cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal bleeds, blood in the urine and joint and muscle pain.

The rate of symptoms rose in parallel with increasing dose. One in 10 of those taking diclofenac took over 100 mg; 43% of those who took ibuprofen, the second most popular choice, took doses of 800 mg or more -- twice the recommended dose.

Virtually none of the respondents said they were aware of any risks associated with taking painkillers for endurance sports.

Nine runners who took painkillers said they had ended up in hospital: three for temporary kidney failure after taking ibuprofen; four for bleeding ulcers (aspirin), and two after a heart attack (aspirin), one of whom had taken 500 mg for mild foot pain.

None of the runners who competed without having topped up on painkillers was admitted to hospital.

Painkillers block enzymes called cyclooxygenases, which regulate the production of prostaglandins. But the authors suggest that prostaglandins also protect tissues when the body is under extreme stress, such as during endurance sports.

"Taken together, our data indicate that the widespread use of cyclooxygenase inhibitors in connection with endurance sports is potentially damaging. Further investigations are warranted to examine whether the use of analgesics before and during sports activities should be avoided altogether," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Kuster, B. Renner, P. Oppel, U. Niederweis, K. Brune. Consumption of analgesics before a marathon and the incidence of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and renal problems: a cohort study. BMJ Open, 2013; 3 (4): e002090 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002090

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Painkillers taken before marathons linked to potentially serious side effects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130420110656.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, April 20). Painkillers taken before marathons linked to potentially serious side effects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130420110656.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Painkillers taken before marathons linked to potentially serious side effects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130420110656.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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