Three articles on PainSci cite Costa 2021: 1. Voltaren Gel: Does It Work? 2. Opioids for Chronic Aches & Pains 3. The Science of Pain-Killers
PainSci notes on Costa 2021:
An enormous review of trials of common pain medications for osteoarthritis, pooling the results of almost 200 trials with over 100,000 study subjects. The big loser was opioid treatment: its modest benefit, “regardless of preparation or dose, does not outweigh the harm it might cause.” And the big winner was topical diclofenac, which:
…seems to be effective and generally safer because of reduced systemic exposure and lower dose, and should be considered as first line pharmacological treatment for knee osteoarthritis.
Two oral medications were judged to be the most effective, though somewhat risky thanks to their side effects: “Etoricoxib 60 mg/day and diclofenac 150 mg/day seem to be the most effective oral NSAIDs.”
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness and safety of different preparations and doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, and paracetamol for knee and hip osteoarthritis pain and physical function to enable effective and safe use of these drugs at their lowest possible dose.
DESIGN: Systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised trials.
DATA SOURCES: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Medline, Embase, regulatory agency websites, and ClinicalTrials.gov from inception to 28 June 2021.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: Randomised trials published in English with ≥100 patients per group that evaluated NSAIDs, opioids, or paracetamol (acetaminophen) to treat osteoarthritis.
OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The prespecified primary outcome was pain. Physical function and safety outcomes were also assessed.
REVIEW METHODS: Two reviewers independently extracted outcomes data and evaluated the risk of bias of included trials. Bayesian random effects models were used for network meta-analysis of all analyses. Effect estimates are comparisons between active treatments and oral placebo.
RESULTS: 192 trials comprising 102 829 participants examined 90 different active preparations or doses (68 for NSAIDs, 19 for opioids, and three for paracetamol). Five oral preparations (diclofenac 150 mg/day, etoricoxib 60 and 90 mg/day, and rofecoxib 25 and 50 mg/day) had ≥99% probability of more pronounced treatment effects than the minimal clinically relevant reduction in pain. Topical diclofenac (70-81 and 140-160 mg/day) had ≥92.3% probability, and all opioids had ≤53% probability of more pronounced treatment effects than the minimal clinically relevant reduction in pain. 18.5%, 0%, and 83.3% of the oral NSAIDs, topical NSAIDs, and opioids, respectively, had an increased risk of dropouts due to adverse events. 29.8%, 0%, and 89.5% of oral NSAIDs, topical NSAIDs, and opioids, respectively, had an increased risk of any adverse event. Oxymorphone 80 mg/day had the highest risk of dropouts due to adverse events (51%) and any adverse event (88%).
CONCLUSIONS: Etoricoxib 60 mg/day and diclofenac 150 mg/day seem to be the most effective oral NSAIDs for pain and function in patients with osteoarthritis. However, these treatments are probably not appropriate for patients with comorbidities or for long term use because of the slight increase in the risk of adverse events. Additionally, an increased risk of dropping out due to adverse events was found for diclofenac 150 mg/day. Topical diclofenac 70-81 mg/day seems to be effective and generally safer because of reduced systemic exposure and lower dose, and should be considered as first line pharmacological treatment for knee osteoarthritis. The clinical benefit of opioid treatment, regardless of preparation or dose, does not outweigh the harm it might cause in patients with osteoarthritis.
- “Topical therapy for osteoarthritis: clinical and pharmacologic perspectives,” Roy Altman and Robert L Barkin, Postgrad Med J, 2009.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.