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Controlling Osteoarthritis Pain – Inefficiency of Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)

A review of medical studies has assessed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for osteoarthritis pain.

The most common treatment for osteoarthritis is currently non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications.

A review of scientific evidence for the use of NSAID medications has been conducted by researchers from the University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

The report, published in the Lancet has investigated various forms and doses of NSAID medications and their effectiveness at treating osteoarthritic pain.

The researchers evaluated randomized clinical trials that investigated the use of NSAIDs, paracetamol, or placebo, in the treatment of osteoarthritis pain, in total 74 trials were included in the analysis.

It was found that all NSAIDs improved symptoms of pain in patients with osteoarthritis, compared with placebo treatment. The improvements were noted despite various doses and preparations of NSAID medications.

Overall, pain reduction was greater with increasing doses of NSAID medications. The researchers, however, found no evidence of the effectiveness of paracetamol in the treatment of osteoarthritic pain.

They conclude that the NSAID medication diclofenac, at 150mg/day, was the most effective treatment studied for both pain reduction and improvements in general functioning.

They do, however, state that careful considerations of the risks versus benefits of treatment should be weighed before selecting an appropriate treatment for patients suffering from osteoarthritis pain.


Costa BR da, Reichenbach S, Keller N, et al. Effectiveness of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of pain in knee and hip osteoarthritis: a network meta-analysis. The Lancet. 2017;390(10090):e21-e33. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31744-0



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