May 01, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
At the recent Boston Marathon, runners could be seen ingesting large quantities of ibuprofen in the starting area. In fact, scientific research reveals that up to 75 percent of marathoners routinely take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before the race and prior to long workouts. The reason for this high rate of use is that many runners believe that ibuprofen reduces the risk of muscle cramping, minimizes discomfort during exertion, and also tones down post-effort inflammation.

Research in this area tells a far different story, however. Basically, scientific investigations have suggested that ibuprofen may have a negative effect on the cells which repair bone and muscles after strenuous efforts. The research also reveals that pre-exertion ingestion of ibuprofen does not thwart post-exertion inflammation, and that in fact muscles and tendons often recover more quickly from strenuous exercise when placebo is given to subjects, instead of ibuprofen! Furthermore, ibuprofen is linked with gastro-intestinal dysfunction during exercise; instead of lowering the likelihood of muscle cramping, ibuprofen may actually hike the chances of stomach and intestinal cramps, as well as diarrhea. Importantly, ibuprofen seems to lower protein-synthesis rates in muscles after intense exercise, an effect which would certainly retard recovery.

The bottom lines? Endurance athletes are misusing ibuprofen, a drug which has a much-greater "down" than "up" side when taken before exercise. For more information, please contact Owen Anderson at Running Research News by phone (517-371-4897) or by e-mail at The appropriate web site is