New Research Revealing Paracetamol Ineffective For Back Pain

5 Aug, 2014

 The most common pain reliever for back pain, paracetamol, does not work any better than a placebo, according to a new study published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.

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Guidelines around the world recommend that doctors treat back pain with paracetamol, but the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney conducted a trial after being unable to find good scientific evidence that paracetamol was effective. Their trial involved 1,600 people who had recently been diagnosed with acute back pain. One group received a placebo, another was told to take paracetamol as needed and a third received regular extended-release paracetamol three times a day.

“Surprisingly we found that it didn’t really matter whether you gave people a placebo, paracetamol or time-contingent regular paracetamol, there was no difference in any of the outcomes,” said Professor Chris Maher who led the study.

“It didn’t speed time to recovery; it didn’t improve their pain; it didn’t improve their disability.”