Back Pain

Acetaminophen not effective for lower back pain, study finds

A new meta-analysis review has concluded that acetaminophen is not effective for lower back pain or osteoarthritis, Medical News Today reported.

The study, published in The British Medical Journal, looked at evidence from 13 randomized controlled trials. Acetaminophen, the drug found in Tylenol, was ineffective against lower back pain and offered only “minimal short-term benefit” for individuals with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.

Study authors suggest changes to guidelines that suggest acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, as a first analgesic option.
"Worldwide, paracetamol is the most widely used over-the-counter medicine for musculoskeletal conditions, so it is important to reconsider treatment recommendations given this new evidence,” lead author Gustavo Machado of The George Institute for Global Health in the UK and the University of Sydney in Australia, said in a news release.
According to an accompanying editorial, the study’s findings are not surprising and urges physical treatments, including exercise, as the way forward for managing these common, painful and highly disabling conditions.

A July 2014 study published in The Lancet, found that acetaminophen worked no better than a dummy pill at reducing lower-back pain in some people.

Researchers noted that, while use of acetaminophen for low back pain and osteoarthritis was associated with higher risk of liver toxicity, the clinical relevance of this risk remains uncertain.

Acetaminophen has been linked with other safety issues, including increasing incidence of mortality, increased risk of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and renal disease, Medical News Today reported.

When used in combination with an opioid painkiller, the maximum dose of acetaminophen is restricted to 325 mg.

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