Common med found ineffective for low-back pain
The low-back pain medication known as paracetamol--or acetaminophen--may not be as effective as previously thought, according to new research. Acetaminophen is more commonly known as Tylenol.
Scientists from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, Australia conducted the Paracetamol for Low-Back Pain Study (PACE), which analyzed data on 1,652 adults with an average age of 45. The participants were divided into three groups. They were either given regular doses of paracetamol (about 3,990 mg/day) for up to four weeks, paracetamol as needed (up to 4,000 mg/day) or a placebo. The researchers followed up with the participants for three months to assess each group's average recovery time.
The results of the study showed that there were no significant differences among the groups in terms of recovery time. The average recovery time for the regular paracetamol group was 17 days, while the as-needed group was 17 days, and the placebo group was 16 days.
The findings, published in The Lancet, suggest that taking paracetamol may not be an effective way for people to manage low-back pain. The recommendation of using it to treat low-back pain, which is practiced universally, may need to be reconsidered, researchers said.
Researchers added, however, that because this was the first large trial to compare the effects of the medication with a placebo on low-back pain, that more studies are needed before any guideline changes could be considered.