Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Quantitative systematic review of topically applied non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

By R. A. Moore, M. R. Tramèr, D. Carroll, P. J. Wiffen and H. J. McQuay


OBJECTIVE: To review the effectiveness and safety of topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in acute and chronic pain conditions. DESIGN: Quantitative systematic review of randomised controlled trials. DATA SOURCES: 86 trials involving 10,160 patients. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Measures of treatment success approximating at least 50% reduction in pain, local and systemic adverse effects. Analysis at 1 week for acute and 2 weeks for chronic conditions with relative benefit and number needed to treat. RESULTS: In acute pain conditions (soft tissue trauma, strains, and sprains) placebo controlled trials had a relative benefit of 1.7 (1.5 to 1.9), the number needed to treat was 3.9 (3.4 to 4.4). With analysis by drug (at least three trials), ketoprofen (number needed to treat 2.6), felbinac (3.0), ibuprofen (3.5), and piroxicam (4.2) had significant efficacy. Benzydamine and indomethacin were no different from placebo. In chronic pain conditions (osteoarthritis, tendinitis) placebo controlled trials had a relative benefit of 2.0 (1.5 to 2.7); the number needed to treat was 3.1 (2.7 to 3.8). Small trials (< 40 treated patients) exaggerated effectiveness of topical non-steroidals by 33% in acute conditions but not in chronic conditions. There was no relation between trial quality and treatment effect. In both acute and chronic pain local and systemic adverse events and withdrawal from the study related to the drug had a low incidence and were no different from placebo. CONCLUSION: Topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in relieving pain in acute and chronic conditions

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: BMJ Group
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.