Paracetamol is useless at arthritis pain treatment


Million patients of arthritis who use paracetamol to treat their arthritis pain may be wasting their time, a major study claimed. The researchers found that paracetamol hardly works at all with joint pain.

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Paracetamol is always considered one of the active ingredients in a huge number of painkillers. Although stronger drugs are more effective, paracetamol has fewer side effects, Therefore, it has become the main treatment for the joint condition. However, the scientists have warned that no matter how high the dose is, paracetamol takes no rule against osteoarthritis – the chronic disease affects up to 10 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women worldwide

Being published in medical journal The Lancet, this study is the largest -ever analysis of randomised trials of pain relief for osteoarthritis. The Swiss research team collected data of 58556 patients living with osteoarthritis from 74 randomised trials published between 1980 and 2015, then study analyzed and compared effects of 22 different medical treatments and placebo on pain intensity and physical activity. The 22 treatments consisted doses of paracetamol and seven different NSAIDs.

Dr. Sven Trelle from the University of Bern – leader team and colleagues concluded that diclofenac 150mg/day, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is the most effective short-term pain relief. Nevertheless, the researchers caution against long-term use of NSAIDs as known side-effects.

According to Dr. Trelle, increasing evidence shows that paracetamol takes little impact to ease pain or improve movement. Moreover, the painkiller still has side effects if taken in high doses over long periods. In details, it is found that paracetamol does not meet even the minimum standard of clinical effectiveness in treating pain or improving physical function in patients who suffering from knee and hip osteoarthritis. It is ineffective against the disease.

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The other NSAIDs are useful and can be used to treat intermittently without paracetamol but they bring bad side- effects. The researchers expect that their study can support doctors to find the best way to control best to manage pain in this population.

In fact, paracetamol is a safe solution for almost everyone; however, an increasing number of recent studies have proved the painkiller’s ineffectiveness at treating osteoarthritis.

The study doesn’t mention a suitable alternative for pain control for the patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Although other alternatives as NSAIDs can work but they have nasty side-effects for patients, so they are not recommended in long term treatment. Therefore, Dr Maureen- chair of the Royal College of GPs.  calls for more research into safe and effective alternatives to paracetamol.

Paracetamol has been on the market for more than 50 years and is considered a safe and effective solution for mild to moderate pain relief. This study would advise anyone who is concerned about the use of paracetamol to speak to their pharmacist in the first instance.

On behalf of firms which make over-the-counter medicines, John Smith, chief executive of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain stated that paracetamol has been on the market for more than 50 years and is considered a safe and recommended solution for arthritis pain relief. However, he also suggests that anyone who is concerned about the use of paracetamol should speak to their pharmacist in the first instance.



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