Evid Based Nurs 8:21 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.1.21
  • Treatment

Review: paracetamol reduces pain in osteoarthritis but is less effective than NSAIDs

Paracetamol v placebo or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for osteoarthritis (OA)*

Outcomes Paracetamol v placebo NSAIDs v paracetamol
Number of comparisons (n) Pooled effect size (95% CI) Number of comparisons (n) Pooled effect size (CI)
*NA  =  not available. WOMAC  =  Western Ontario and McMaster University. CI defined in glossary.
†Significant result favouring paracetamol over placebo.
‡Significant result favouring NSAIDs over paracetamol.
Pain 2 (394) 0.21 (0.02 to 0.41)† 11 (1641) 0.20 (0.10 to 0.30)‡
WOMAC OA score 2 (394) 0.14 (−0.06 to 0.34) 4 (NA) 0.30 (0.17 to 0.44)‡
Function Not assessed Not assessed 6 (NA) 0.22 (0.08 to 0.34)‡
Stiffness Not assessed Not assessed 5 (NA) 0.35 (0.19 to 0.50)‡

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