New research carried out by Swiss researchers has found that paracetamol offers no relief for the joint pain that comes alongside arthritis and many other joint-related conditions. The popular and easily accessible over-the-counter painkiller has no effectiveness when tacking the symptoms related to chronic joint pain and arthritis. The researchers even say that people suffering with arthritis may be experiencing more pain than necessary through taking paracetamol and expecting pain relief.
It doesn’t matter how large a dose of paracetamol is taken, on its own, it will have no effect on the pain related to osteoarthritis. The best medication on the market according to the new research is diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory which is described as providing the best short-term relief although it cannot be used in the long term because of its side effects.
Speaking on behalf of the research team from the University of Bern, Dr Sven Trelle commented: “NSAIDs are usually only used to treat short-term episodes of pain in osteoarthritis, because the side-effects are thought to outweigh the benefits when used longer term.
Because of this, paracetamol is often prescribed to manage long-term pain instead of NSAIDs.
However, our results suggest paracetamol at any dose is not effective in managing pain in osteoarthritis.”
The research analysis for this project was published in The Lancet and it was based on a review of data from over 59,000 patients in 74 trials over a period of 35 years, from 1980 to 2015 and it compared all 22 treatments mentioned across these trials. The medications were then published in line with how effectively they improved symptoms of pain compared with a placebo and in almost all instances paracetamol performed only slightly better than the placebo whilst diclofenac at the highest possible daily dose (150mg) was the most effective but as mentioned the long term side effects make them a risky choice for handling the condition.
This new research has left space for further study and analysis to see what pain management methods and what drugs are best for people living with osteoarthritis and this research should mean that the way the condition is treated changes, with GPs and other health professionals no longer recommending paracetamol as treatment for this condition and similar diseases.
Managing the pain that comes alongside any joint condition is a balancing act but with the medical professionals on your side there is no reason you can manage your pain in a way which makes the condition less overwhelming.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with Dr Stephanie Barrett, please get in touch here