The Study of NSAIDs and Fertility

Thirty nine women of childbearing age who suffered from minor back pains participated in the study of the effect that NSAIDs have on fertility.

The women were given one of the three most popular NSAIDs on the market or a placebo.

The researchers wanted to measure the size of the ovaries in the women, the presence of follicles in the ovaries and the level of progesterone in their bodies. The follicles the ovaries produce are what release the eggs during ovulation. The progesterone is a hormone that is essential in ovulation. Without proper levels of progesterone, the fertilized eggs would not be able to attach to the interior lining of the uterus.

On the tenth day of the women’s menstrual cycles, they began taking their NSAIDs for the back pain. By waiting until the tenth day the researchers could ensure that the follicles formed to release the eggs during ovulation.

What are NSAIDs?

NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some of the most popular nonsteroidal ant-inflammatory drugs on the market today are:

  • Etoricoxib is not sold in the United States because it has not currently received approval by the Food and Drug Administration
  • Diclofenac is only available with a prescription
  • Naproxen is sold in the United States as an over the counter medication

The Test Results

After ten days of the NSAID treatment, the test subjects were given another ultrasound. The results were pretty alarming.

Of the patients who received NSAIDs instead of the placebo one third of them developed cysts because they had not properly ovulated and the un-ruptured follicles formed cysts.

Ninety three percent of the women who were given diclofenac saw an interruption in ovulation.

The women who had been taking naproxen, and Etoricoxib saw a seventy five percent reduction in ovulation.

All of the women who were taking the NSAIDs had reduced levels of progesterone.

The women returned the following month, and without taking any NSAIDs their ovulation occurred normally for their next menstrual cycle.

What this means for doctors

Healthcare professionals can now council their patients on the probability that NSAIDs could delay their becoming pregnant by interrupting their ovulation cycles. They can explain to women that if they are trying to become pregnant, they should not choose an NSAID as a method of pain reduction.

What this means for women trying to conceive

Women who are trying to conceive could possibly achieve their goal sooner by stopping their use of NSAIDs at least one month prior to them attempting to become pregnant.

This information could also save the women money they would have spent on fertility treatments, doctor visits, and medications.

It could also mean that the women who did have eggs that were fertilized would stand a greater chance of those eggs adhering to the lining of the uterus and then having a successful pregnancy. This could save women from abortions that happen very early on in the pregnancy due to the egg not properly attaching to the uterus lining.