Study Title:

Safety and efficacy of paracetamol and NSAIDs in osteoarthritis: which drug to recommend?

Study Abstract

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is a major cause of disability, especially in people ≥ 45 years old. Several international societies recommend the use of both acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to alleviate OA pain. However, patients with OA often have comorbidities, notably cardiovascular risk factors, which may hamper the use of these analgesics.
This paper reviews the safety of both acetaminophen and NSAIDs in OA. Recent data have pointed to a gastrointestinal and cardiovascular toxicity of acetaminophen, which has been neglected for a long time. In addition, several meta-analyses revealed that acetaminophen is a poor analgesic in OA. Traditional NSAIDs and cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors (coxibs) have similar analgesic effects but vary greatly in their potential gastrointestinal and cardiovascular toxicity.
Given the putative gastrointestinal and cardiovascular toxicity and poor analgesic properties of acetaminophen in OA, its use in patients with risk factors is questionable. Acetaminophen should be used at the lowest effective dosage and for the shortest time in all OA patients. Given the different safety profiles, the choice of NSAIDs, traditional or coxibs, should be based on individual patient risk factors. A good knowledge of the different strategies to decrease the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular toxic effects of NSAIDs is key to the management of OA.
NSAIDs; acetaminophen; cyclooxygenase inhibitors; osteoarthritis; treatment

Study Information

Safety and efficacy of paracetamol and NSAIDs in osteoarthritis: which drug to recommend?
Expert Opin Drug Saf.
2015 August

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