Attention Endurance Athletes – Beware of Ibuprofen!

The October 2010 issue of TrailRunner Magazine features an article titled Pill Popping, Ibuprofen and Endurance Running is a Dangerous Combination. It highlights the danger of using painkillers like ibuprofen and other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during endurance activities such as running long distances.

The article details the story of Erik Skaggs, who was diagnosed with acute kidney failure days after running the 2009 Where’s Waldo 100k. Skagg’s doctor attributed his condition to the use of just 1000 mg. of ibuprofen over a nine-hour period of time. Although below the maximum daily recommendation, a combination of NSAIDs, dehydration and running hard have been shown to cause hyponatremia (a condition where electrolytes in the body are reduced to dangerous levels).

During a four year study, concluded in 2006, Dr. D.C. Nieman, director of the human-performance lab at Appalachian State University, concluded that “Ibuprofen has no beneficial effect on muscle soreness or pain”. In fact, medical complications attributed to NSAIDS are not as uncommon as you might think. Consult a physician about proper nutrition, injury prevention and treatment before mixing any over the counter or prescription drugs with exercise.

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