Posted on Oct 03, 2012, 6 a.m.
Women who take ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days per week may be at an increased risk of hearing loss.
Analgesics are the most frequently used medications in the United States and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Sharon G. Curhan, from Brigham and Women's Hospital (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues examined the relationship between frequency of aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen use and risk of hearing loss among women in the Nurses' Health Study II. Data from 62,261 women ages 31 to 48 years at baseline was studied. The women were followed for 14 years, from 1995 to 2009. Hearing loss was self-reported in 10,012 women. Compared with women who used ibuprofen less than once per week, those who used ibuprofen 2 to 3 days per week had a 13% increased risk for hearing loss, while women who used the medication 4 to 5 days per week had a 21% increased risk. For those who used ibuprofen six or more days per week, the increased risk was 24%. As for acetaminophen, women who took it 2 to 3 days per week had an 11% increased risk for hearing loss, while women taking the medicine 4 to 5 days per week had a 21% increased risk (as compared with women who used acetaminophen less than once per week). Positing that NSAIDs may reduce blood flow to the cochlea, the hearing organ, thereby impairing its function, the study authors warn that: “use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen (but not aspirin) 2 or more days per week was associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women.”
Sharon G. Curhan, Josef Shargorodsky, Roland Eavey, Gary C. Curhan. “Analgesic Use and the Risk of Hearing Loss in Women.” Am. J. Epidemiol. (2012) 176(6): 544-554.