At almost every event that I go to, you have people handing out packets of Aspirin or Ibuprofen. I know a bunch of runners who take Aspirin or Ibuprofen before and after their runs and races. Is it safe to take though? I ran into an article, “NSAIDs, Physical Exertion, and Dehydration: A Perfect Combination for Kidney Failure” that discusses this very issue.
For those of you who don’t exactly know what is considered an NDAID (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug), it includes Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin), Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin IB), and Naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs can be used to reduce fever and relieve mild aches, pains, and arthritis. NSAIDs work by blocking enzymes in the body that help make chemicals that signal pain (1).
The article from Real Time Pain Relief, “NSAIDs, Physical Exertion, and Dehydration: A Perfect Combination for Kidney Failure” strongly recommends that if you do have to take a painkiller (NSAID) before you exercise, that you make sure that you watch your hydration level and do not overexert yourself. This means that you probably should not take it before a race.
NSAIDs inhibit the production of a hormone known as “prostaglandin,“ which regulates blood flow to the kidneys (2). When you take into account that as you get dehydrated, you begin to receive less blood through your blood vessels, what you end up with is your kidneys becoming overwhelmed. Basically, your kidneys cannot function properly. They try to constrict your blood vessels in an attempt to keep blood flowing, but this is where the major issue is.
The results will vary depending on the person. Some people will end up with kidney failure, other will have kidney damage, but there will be those people that will have a fatal reaction. I know that it is tempting to take a pain killer to help your muscles relax a little before your race. It just isn’t safe though according to the article.
(1) WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/otc-pain-relief-10/pain-relievers-nsaids
(2) “NSAIDs, Physical Exertrion, and Dehydration: A Perfect Combination for Kidney Failure” - www.rrtpr.com
Note: I am not a doctor. The information that I am providing is strictly information that I have gathered. I am not an expert and my blog post should not be taken as medical advice.