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Review: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants are moderately effective for low back pain

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R Chou

Dr R Chou, Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center, Portland, OR, USA;


Which medications are effective for low back pain?


Data sources:

Medline (to November 2006), Cochrane Library (Issue 4, 2006), reference lists, and experts.

Study selection and assessment:

English-language systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that were published since 2000 and evaluated medications for acute or chronic low back pain, with or without sciatica, in non-pregnant adults. If no high-quality systematic review was found for a given drug category, primary RCTs were sought. 7 systematic reviews and 24 additional RCTs met the selection criteria.


pain, back-specific function, and work disability.


The table shows a summary of the findings.

View this table:
Medications for low back pain at a median 2 weeks*


Good …

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  • Source of funding: American Pain Society.