Alerts a study led by researchers from the University of Bern (Switzerland), which should be noted, taking paracetamol does not improve pain or mobility of the patients with osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease caused by the wear of the cartilage that joins the bones and joints, which results in the bones rubbing together and consequently pain, crunching, and loss of movement appear in the joint.
In fact, osteoarthritis is the main cause of pain in older people, especially in the back, hips, knees, feet, and hands.
However, as is the case with most chronic diseases, patients mistakenly seek symptomatic treatment aimed at reducing or mitigating joint pain; however, this is far from being an effective treatment that provides the joint with a background solution.
Thus, the most widely used drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, diclofenac among others; and pain relievers, such as paracetamol.
And in this context, as warned by a study led by researchers from the University of Bern (Switzerland), it should be noted that taking paracetamol does not improve pain or mobility of patients with osteoarthritis.
Specifically, the study, published in the journal “The Lancet” recognized journal in the medical field, shows that the benefit of paracetamol is practically like that we would obtain by taking a placebo, that is, a pill without any active substance.
In fact, the authors seriously question the use of paracetamol in any chronic illness. And they also endorse the use of other types of treatment, more aimed at reducing inflammation, which therefore could also reduce the pain.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 9.6% of men and 18% of women suffer from osteoarthritis over 40 years of age.
A large population of patients who, given the pain associated with the disease, have limited physical activity, which implies a greater risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes and a threat to general health. Hence the importance of relieving this pain.
Osteoarthritis patients generally take acetaminophen or an NSAID to treat their pain. Or rather, they usually take paracetamol given the adverse effects gastrointestinal associated with NSAIDs. But regardless of the effects secondary, what is the most effective drug?
To answer this question, the authors analyzed the data obtained in 74 clinical trials conducted with 58,556 participants to analyze the effect of paracetamol and seven NSAIDs -celecoxib, diclofenac, etoricoxib, ibuprofen, lumiracoxib, naproxen and rofecoxib– on pain and physical activity in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and / or hip.
The results showed that the benefit of paracetamol is practically like that of placebo. In other words, it does not improve pain or mobility in patients with osteoarthritis. As Sven Trelle, study leader, explains, “NSAIDs are generally used to side effects outweigh its benefits when used long term.
Consequently, acetaminophen is the drug normally prescribed for long-term pain term osteoarthritis instead of NSAIDs. However, our results suggest that, regardless of the dose, paracetamol is not effective in treating pain from osteoarthritis. And they also show that NSAIDs are effective in this situation and that they can be used intermittently without paracetamol.
Two important points should be considered in this statement:
- NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen among others has the characteristic, that when taken long-term they increase the risk of gastric irritation, liver damage, gastrointestinal bleeding, bleeding in any level, among others.
- Anti-inflammatory NSAIDs and the analgesic Paracetamol do not improve the origin of the problem, that is, they do not change the situation of our joint cartilage, therefore have no inference in evolution, pain prevention, recovery from mobility and quality of life.
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