Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and endurance during running in male long-distance runners

J Athl Train. 2015 Mar;50(3):295-302. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.5.04. Epub 2015 Jan 26.


Context: The effect of ibuprofen on pain tolerance during exercise is controversial, and its effects on endurance performance have been poorly investigated.

Objective: To investigate the effect of prophylactic administration of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen on the time until the self-report of fatigue (tlim) in runners with exercise-induced muscle damage.

Design: Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Setting: Laboratory.

Patients or other participants: Twenty healthy male long-distance runners (age = 18.8 ± 0.4 years, maximal oxygen consumption = 55.5 ± 5.9 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1)).

Intervention(s): Participants were assigned to 2 groups (ibuprofen group = 10, placebo group = 10) to perform tlim trials (speed corresponded to their previously determined secondventilatory thresholds) 48 hours before and 48 hours after the induction of a lower limb muscle-damage protocol (isokinetic dynamometry). One hour before the second tlim trial, the ibuprofen group received 1.2 g ibuprofen, and the placebo group received lactose orally.

Main outcome measure(s): Time until self-reported fatigue, heart rate, respiratory quotient, oxygen consumption, and perceived exertion were recorded during each tlim test.

Results: Both groups reported increases in muscle pain in the knee extensors and flexors 48 hours after the muscle-damage protocol. We observed a reduction in the endurance performance of both groups (P < .01) but no difference between groups (P = .55).

Conclusions: Ibuprofen did not reduce the effect of muscle damage and pain on performance. Prophylactic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs did not have an ergogenic effect on running performance after exercise-induced muscle damage in male long-distance runners.

Keywords: NSAIDs; exercise; fatigue; ibuprofen; muscle pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / administration & dosage*
  • Knee Injuries* / drug therapy
  • Knee Injuries* / etiology
  • Knee Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects*
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold / drug effects*
  • Running / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Ibuprofen