In a new study, researchers with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that prescribing opioids to patients already being treated with NSAIDs for low back pain (LBP) did not provide additional pain relief to a statistically significant degree. The research team conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial with 323 acute LBP patients to compare the efficacy of different drug combinations that are used to treat pain. The main measures were functional outcomes using the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), plus pain ratings one week after discharge from the emergency department. All patients included in the study had a score of five or greater on the RMDQ (a score of zero indicates no functional impairment; a score of 24 indicates maximum impairment). Patients were assigned to groups receiving naproxen (brand name Aleve) and either a placebo, a muscle relaxant, or oxycodone in combination. Approximately two-thirds of all the patients experienced clinically significant improvement, but the differences between the groups (9.8 RMDQ at one week for placebo versus 11 RMDQ oxycodone) did not ultimately “support the use of these additional medications.”
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