Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for low back pain

A systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group

Maurits W. Van Tulder, Rob J P M Scholten, Bart W. Koes, Richard (Rick) Deyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

201 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Study Design. A systematic review of randomized and double-blind controlled trials was performed. Summary of Background Data. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most frequently prescribed medications worldwide and are widely used for patients with low back pain. Objectives. To assess the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of nonspecific low back pain with or without radiation, and to assess which type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is most effective. Methods. For this study, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline and Embase, and reference lists of articles were searched. Two reviewers blinded with respect to authors, institution, and journal independently extracted data and assessed the methodologic quality of the studies. If data were considered clinically homogeneous, a meta-analysis was performed. If data were considered clinically heterogeneous, a qualitative analysis was performed using a rating system with four levels of evidence: strong, moderate, limited, and no evidence. Results. This review involved 51 trials and 6057 patients. Of these trials, 16 (31%) were of high quality. The pooled relative risk for global improvement after 1 week was 1.24 (95% confidence interval [Cl] = 1.10-1.41), and for additional analgesic use was 1.29 (95% Cl = 1.05-1.57), indicating a statistically significant but small effect in favor of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as compared with a placebo. The results of the qualitative analysis showed that there is conflicting evidence (Level 3) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are more effective than paracetamol for acute low back pain, and that there is moderate evidence (Level 2) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not more effective than other drugs for acute low back pain. There is strong evidence (Level 1) that various types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are equally effective for acute low back pain. Conclusions. The evidence from the 51 trials included in this review suggests that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective for short-term symptomatic relief in patients with acute low back pain. Furthermore, there does not seem to be a specific type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is clearly more effective than others. Sufficient evidence on chronic low back pain still is lacking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2501-2513
Number of pages13
JournalSpine
Volume25
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Low Back Pain
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Back Pain
Acetaminophen
Analgesics
Meta-Analysis
Placebos
Confidence Intervals

Keywords

  • Cochrane Collaboration
  • Effectiveness
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for low back pain : A systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group. / Van Tulder, Maurits W.; Scholten, Rob J P M; Koes, Bart W.; Deyo, Richard (Rick).

In: Spine, Vol. 25, No. 19, 01.10.2000, p. 2501-2513.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Study Design. A systematic review of randomized and double-blind controlled trials was performed. Summary of Background Data. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most frequently prescribed medications worldwide and are widely used for patients with low back pain. Objectives. To assess the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of nonspecific low back pain with or without radiation, and to assess which type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is most effective. Methods. For this study, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline and Embase, and reference lists of articles were searched. Two reviewers blinded with respect to authors, institution, and journal independently extracted data and assessed the methodologic quality of the studies. If data were considered clinically homogeneous, a meta-analysis was performed. If data were considered clinically heterogeneous, a qualitative analysis was performed using a rating system with four levels of evidence: strong, moderate, limited, and no evidence. Results. This review involved 51 trials and 6057 patients. Of these trials, 16 (31{\%}) were of high quality. The pooled relative risk for global improvement after 1 week was 1.24 (95{\%} confidence interval [Cl] = 1.10-1.41), and for additional analgesic use was 1.29 (95{\%} Cl = 1.05-1.57), indicating a statistically significant but small effect in favor of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as compared with a placebo. The results of the qualitative analysis showed that there is conflicting evidence (Level 3) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are more effective than paracetamol for acute low back pain, and that there is moderate evidence (Level 2) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not more effective than other drugs for acute low back pain. There is strong evidence (Level 1) that various types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are equally effective for acute low back pain. Conclusions. The evidence from the 51 trials included in this review suggests that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective for short-term symptomatic relief in patients with acute low back pain. Furthermore, there does not seem to be a specific type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is clearly more effective than others. Sufficient evidence on chronic low back pain still is lacking.",
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AU - Van Tulder, Maurits W.

AU - Scholten, Rob J P M

AU - Koes, Bart W.

AU - Deyo, Richard (Rick)

PY - 2000/10/1

Y1 - 2000/10/1

N2 - Study Design. A systematic review of randomized and double-blind controlled trials was performed. Summary of Background Data. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most frequently prescribed medications worldwide and are widely used for patients with low back pain. Objectives. To assess the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of nonspecific low back pain with or without radiation, and to assess which type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is most effective. Methods. For this study, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline and Embase, and reference lists of articles were searched. Two reviewers blinded with respect to authors, institution, and journal independently extracted data and assessed the methodologic quality of the studies. If data were considered clinically homogeneous, a meta-analysis was performed. If data were considered clinically heterogeneous, a qualitative analysis was performed using a rating system with four levels of evidence: strong, moderate, limited, and no evidence. Results. This review involved 51 trials and 6057 patients. Of these trials, 16 (31%) were of high quality. The pooled relative risk for global improvement after 1 week was 1.24 (95% confidence interval [Cl] = 1.10-1.41), and for additional analgesic use was 1.29 (95% Cl = 1.05-1.57), indicating a statistically significant but small effect in favor of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as compared with a placebo. The results of the qualitative analysis showed that there is conflicting evidence (Level 3) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are more effective than paracetamol for acute low back pain, and that there is moderate evidence (Level 2) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not more effective than other drugs for acute low back pain. There is strong evidence (Level 1) that various types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are equally effective for acute low back pain. Conclusions. The evidence from the 51 trials included in this review suggests that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective for short-term symptomatic relief in patients with acute low back pain. Furthermore, there does not seem to be a specific type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is clearly more effective than others. Sufficient evidence on chronic low back pain still is lacking.

AB - Study Design. A systematic review of randomized and double-blind controlled trials was performed. Summary of Background Data. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most frequently prescribed medications worldwide and are widely used for patients with low back pain. Objectives. To assess the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of nonspecific low back pain with or without radiation, and to assess which type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is most effective. Methods. For this study, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline and Embase, and reference lists of articles were searched. Two reviewers blinded with respect to authors, institution, and journal independently extracted data and assessed the methodologic quality of the studies. If data were considered clinically homogeneous, a meta-analysis was performed. If data were considered clinically heterogeneous, a qualitative analysis was performed using a rating system with four levels of evidence: strong, moderate, limited, and no evidence. Results. This review involved 51 trials and 6057 patients. Of these trials, 16 (31%) were of high quality. The pooled relative risk for global improvement after 1 week was 1.24 (95% confidence interval [Cl] = 1.10-1.41), and for additional analgesic use was 1.29 (95% Cl = 1.05-1.57), indicating a statistically significant but small effect in favor of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as compared with a placebo. The results of the qualitative analysis showed that there is conflicting evidence (Level 3) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are more effective than paracetamol for acute low back pain, and that there is moderate evidence (Level 2) that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not more effective than other drugs for acute low back pain. There is strong evidence (Level 1) that various types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are equally effective for acute low back pain. Conclusions. The evidence from the 51 trials included in this review suggests that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective for short-term symptomatic relief in patients with acute low back pain. Furthermore, there does not seem to be a specific type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is clearly more effective than others. Sufficient evidence on chronic low back pain still is lacking.

KW - Cochrane Collaboration

KW - Effectiveness

KW - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

KW - Systematic review

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