PGs have been shown to modulate skeletal muscle protein metabolism as well as inflammation and pain. In nonskeletal muscle tissues, the over the counter analgesic drugs ibuprofen and acetaminophen function through suppression of PG synthesis. We previously reported that ibuprofen and acetaminophen inhibit the normal increase in skeletal muscle protein synthesis after high intensity eccentric resistance exercise. The current study examined skeletal muscle PG levels in the same subjects to further investigate the mechanisms of action of these drugs in exercised skeletal muscle. Twenty-four males (25 +/- 3 yr) were assigned to 3 groups that received the maximal over the counter dose of ibuprofen (1200 mg/d), acetaminophen (4000 mg/d), or a placebo after 10-14 sets of 10 eccentric repetitions at 120% of concentric 1 repetition maximum using the knee extensors. Preexercise and 24 h postexercise biopsies of the vastus lateralis revealed that the exercise-induced change in PGF(2alpha) in the placebo group (77%) was significantly different (P < 0.05) from those in the ibuprofen (-1%) and acetaminophen (-14%) groups. However, the exercise-induced change in PGE(2) in the placebo group (64%) was only significantly different (P < 0.05) from that in the acetaminophen group (-16%). The exercise-induced changes in PGF(2alpha) and PGE(2) were not different between the ibuprofen and acetaminophen groups. These results suggest that ibuprofen and acetaminophen have a comparable effect on suppressing the normal increase in PGF(2alpha) in human skeletal muscle after eccentric resistance exercise, which may profoundly influence the anabolic response of muscle to this form of exercise.