The burden of musculoskeletal pain and the role of topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in its treatment. Ten underpinning statements from a global pain faculty

Stephen B. McMahon, Paul Dargan, Angel Lanas, Philip Wiffen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This document presents the conclusions of a detailed discussion on the role of topical NSAIDs during a round table Global Pain Faculty meeting held in Amsterdam in 2019 and subsequent discussions online. The aim of this evidence-based document is to describe the impact of musculoskeletal pain both in terms of the large numbers of sufferers and its economic impact. The document considers the place of topical therapies alongside other pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments and presents the evidence for the benefits and harms of topical NSAIDS including indicators of efficacy for three main topical NSAIDs– diclofenac, ibuprofen and ketoprofen–based on almost 15,000 participants in randomized controlled trials for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain. These topical NSAIDs have the largest body of evidence. For acute pain, numbers needed to treat to achieve at least 50% reduction in pain are as follows with 95% confidence intervals in brackets: Diclofenac emulgel 1.8(1.5–2.1) (5170 participants), Ibuprofen gel 2.7 (1.7–4.2) (436 participants), Ketoprofen gel 2.2 (1.7–2.8) (683 participants). For chronic pain, the NNTs are Diclofenac any formulation 9.5(7–14) (5995 participants). Ketoprofen 6.9(5.5–9.3) (2573 participants). Randomized controlled trial evidence suggests that adverse events for active topical NSAIDs are similar to placebo. Finally the gaps in knowledge are considered with suggestions on how further research might help. The global pain faculty was brought together by GSK under an unrestricted educational grant.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • adverse effects
  • consensus;
  • efficacy;
  • musculoskeletal pain;
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory;
  • topical treatments;

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