Acetaminophen Isn’t Really the Best Option for Arthritis Pain

If you use acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) to relieve arthritis pain on a daily basis, you may not be seeing the results you want.

Researchers recently looked at 74 trials that were published between 1980 and 2015. They also discovered that, through its common use, acetaminophen is only marginally more effective than a placebo.

The study included 58,556 osteoarthritis patients. The researchers wanted to see how 22 different medical procedures affected pain severity and physical activity. NSAIDs, in addition to acetaminophen, were used in the study. (Naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and celecoxib are a few that you might be familiar with.)

As opposed to the placebo, both of the medications reduced pain symptoms, according to the researchers.

When it came to acetaminophen, however, the result was minimal. It was only marginally more effective than the placebo in reducing discomfort. According to the reviewers, the difference was so minor that it did not meet the clinically significant difference threshold.

Diclofenac proved to be the best performer. The most effective dosage for treating the pain and physical weakness caused by osteoarthritis was 150 mg/day. It was also more effective than the highest doses of other frequently used NSAIDS including ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib.

Unfortunately, NSAIDS such as diclofenac come with threats that acetaminophen does not. Particularly short-term use of these pain relievers has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.According to Dr. Sven Trelle.

“NSAIDs are typically only used to relieve short-term periods of pain in osteoarthritis since the risks of long-term use are believed to overshadow the benefits. As a result, paracetamol [acetaminophen] is often used instead of NSAIDs to treat long-term discomfort. Our findings show that paracetamol, with either dosage, is ineffective in treating pain in osteoarthritis, but that some NSAIDs are, and can be used intermittently without paracetamol.”

Although certain pain relievers can be beneficial in the short term, remaining healthy is one of the better ways to manage arthritis pain.

Aerobic exercise on land and in the ocean will also help to relieve pain. Exercises for strength and weight loss, as well as the use of a topical anti-inflammatory formula, are also beneficial.

SOURCE: The Lancet: Paracetamol ‘not clinically effective’ in treating osteoarthritis pain or improving physical function. Press Release. The Lancet via EurekAlert.

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