September 8, 2011

Pain Relief Doesn’t Have To Be A Mystery

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — If you have pain that just won´t go away, don´t give up hope. The mystery may be solved thanks to a recent study.

Dr. Andrew Moore and his colleagues at the Oxford Pain Research Unit at Oxford University, have evaluated the effect of commonly used painkillers at expected doses to discover what works and what doesn´t.

Acute pain occurs when tissue is damaged by an injury or as a result of surgery. The pain felt after surgery happens because tissues become inflamed, and giving pain killers is a critical component of good patient care. Managing pain well helps keep a patient as comfortable as possible and aids their recovery.

35 Cochrane Reviews of randomized trials, testing how well different pain killers work when used against postoperative pain, were analyzed by Dr. Moore and his colleagues. The data, relating to about 45,000 patients and published in the latest edition of The Cochrane Library, also identifies pain killers for which there is only poor or no reliable evidence.

“Pain relief doesn´t have to be a mystery. There is a body of reliable evidence about how well 46 different drug/dose combinations work against acute pain, but the review also shows there are many examples of drugs for which there is insufficient evidence, and the drugs in question should probably not be used to treat acute pain,” Dr. Moore was quoted as saying. “Our aim was to bring all this information together, and to report the results for those drugs with reliable evidence about how well they work or any harm they may do in single oral doses.”

A key finding was that no drug produced high levels of pain relief in all patients. The worst was codeine, with only 14 percent getting significant pain relief. With other drugs, such as 1000mg aspirin and 600mg paracetamol taken on their own, only 35 percent benefitted. However in some cases over 70 percent of participants with moderate to severe acute pain achieved good pain relief, such as taking a single-dose of 120mg etoricoxib, or the combination of 200mg paracetamol plus 500mg ibuprofen.

“If the first pain killer a person tries doesn´t seem to be working, then a doctor should look to find an alternative reliable drug and see if it is more effective in that individual patient. There are plenty of options that have solid evidence base,” Dr. Moore was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: The Cochrane Review