UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: NSAIDs for lower back pain (LBP)

Keywords: Lower back pain, NSAIDs (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/10/2021 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 9/25/2021)
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NSAIDs for lower back pain (LBP)

 

NSAIDs are recommended for first line treatment of lower back pain.

Ibuprofen (600mg), ketorolac (10mg) and diclofenac (50mg)  were compared.

3 arm, double-blinded study in an ED population with musculoskeletal LBP.

66 patients in each arm.

Outcomes via telephone interview 5 days later

Primary outcome was improvement in Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ).

Lower scores indicate better LBP functional outcomes.

Secondary outcomes:  Pain intensity and the presence of stomach irritation.

Baseline characteristics similar in 3 groups.

Results:  No significant differences between 3 arms in primary outcome.

Ibuprofen 9.4, ketorolac 11.9, and diclofenac 10.9 (p = 0.34).

Ketorolac group reported less overall pain intensity at day 5.

Ketorolac group reported less stomach irritation that the other drugs ((p < 0.01).

While there was no differences in terms of functional outcomes, there may be a benefit of using ketorolac in terms of overall pain intensity and stomach irritation. This would benefit from further study in a larger population in order to draw definitive conclusions.

 

References

Irizarry E, Restivo A, Salama M, Davitt M, Feliciano C, Cortijo-Brown A, Friedman BW. A randomized controlled trial of ibuprofen versus ketorolac versus diclofenac for acute, nonradicular low back pain. Acad Emerg Med. 2021 Jun 16. doi: 10.1111/acem.14321. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34133820.