Paracetamol is a medicine commonly used to reduce fever and pain, but a new study has shown that it fails to meet even the minimum standard of medical effectiveness in alleviating pain or bettering physical function in individuals suffering from knee and hip osteoarthritis.
The findings, published in the journal called The Lancet, are founded on a big-scale examination of pain-relief drugs for osteoarthritis, the most standard form of arthritis which usually leads to stiffness and joint pain. When paracetamol is taken without the physician’s advice, it has no role in the treatment of people suffering from osteoarthritis, irrespective of dose, the study proved.
The scientists have found that diclofenac 150mg/day, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID),is the most effective cure for pain relief on a short-term basis. However, they have warned people against its long-term use as it has its share of side-effects. One of the researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland, Sven Trelle, said, “Our results suggest that paracetamol at any dose is not effective in managing pain in osteoarthritis, but that certain NSAIDs are effective and can be used intermittently without paracetamol.”
Globally, approximately 18 percent of women and 9.6 percent of men over the age of 60 suffer from osteoarthritis – a medical condition which is known to severely affect your physical activity and that which ups the patients’ risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and common ill-health. In order to conduct the study, the scientists extracted data from 74 randomized trials published between 1980 to 2015. By using the data of 58,556 patients in total suffering from osteoarthritis, the research compared the effect of 22 different medical therapies and placebo on physical activity and pain severity. The 22 treatments consisted of different doses of paracetamol and seven dissimilar NSAIDs.
The study found that all 22 preparations of drugs, regardless of dose, improved signs of pain in comparison with placebo.
Even though a few doses of paracetamol had some effect on bettering physical function and alleviating pain, the result was however only slightly better than placebo and could not attain the minimum medically important difference, according to the scientists. Besides, the study also found that in comparison, diclofenac at the maximum daily dose of 150 mg/day was much helpful for treating pain and physical impairment in osteoarthritis.
Trelle said that they hope their research can help better inform physicians on how best to reduce pain in this population.