A recent 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 use of NSAID medications has been conducted by researchers from 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 randomised clinical trials that investigated 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 dose of NSAID medications. The researchers, however, found no evidence of 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 risk versus benefits of treatment should be weighed prior to selecting an appropriate treatment for patients suffering with osteoarthritis pain.
da Costa BR, Reichenbach S, Keller N, et al. RETRACTED: Effectiveness of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of pain in knee and hip osteoarthritis: a network meta-analysis [retracted in: Lancet. 2016 May 21;387(10033):2093-2105.
doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30002-2. Epub 2016 Mar 18.