Back pain, especially lower back pain is unbearable that many victims pop up paracetamol pills regularly but researchers have reiterated that the common over-the-counter drug is ineffective against spinal pain with negligible benefits for osteoarthritis.
Though doubts about paracetamol’s effect still persist, the study has re-opened the debate on the effectiveness and safety of paracetamol with more experimental results.
For osteoarthritis too, the research findings showed small, but not clinically important benefits in the reduction of pain and disability compared with the use of a placebo, said a paper published in the British Medical Journal.
The experiment conducted by Gustavo Machado and his team from the University of Sydney carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the efficacy and safety of paracetamol for lower back pain and osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.
The study included 13 randomised controlled studies with and without paracetamol uses.”Paracetamol use for osteoarthritis was also shown to increase the likelihood of having abnormal results on liver function tests by almost four times compared with a placebo, but the clinical relevance of this is still not certain,” said researchers.
Moreover, the authors said that “these results support the reconsideration of recommendations to use paracetamol for patients with low back pain and osteoarthritis.”
The researchers further explained that if paracetamol is taken off existing guidelines, this will lead to another adverse situation where opioids will replace paracetamol and this will present new problems to patients.
Instead, the researchers urged for a safe and effective alternative treatment, especially non-drug options, such as exercise or yoga with clear benefits in the management of spinal pain and
Spinal pain is generic and includes neck and lower back pain, and osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. As of now, clinical guidelines recommend paracetamol as the first line treatment for both conditions.
“But the evidence to support this recommendation is weak and inconsistent and there are safety
concerns with the recommended full dosage (up to 4000 mg/day)”, the study said.