More Isn’t Better With Acute Low Back Pain Treatment

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Second med adds nothing
This RCT found that adding cyclobenzaprine or oxycodone/aceta­minophen to naproxen for the treatment of nontraumatic, nonradicular acute LBP did not significantly improve functional assessment at seven days or three months after the initial ED visit. But it did increase adverse effects.

Specific subset studied
This study was performed in a single urban ED and included a very specific subset of LBP patients, which limits the generalizability of the results. However, patients often present to primary care with similar LBP complaints, and the results of the study should reasonably apply to other settings.

The findings may not generalize to all NSAIDs, but there is no evidence to suggest that other NSAIDs would behave differently when combined with cyclobenzaprine or oxycodone/acetaminophen. In this analysis, only about one-third of patients used the as-needed medication more than once daily; another third used it intermittently or never.

Patients may expect more
Patients expect to receive prescriptions, and clinicians are inclined to write them if they believe doing so will help their patients. The evidence, however, does not demonstrate a benefit to these prescription-only medications for LBP.

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The PURLs Surveillance System was supported in part by Grant Number UL1RR024999 from the National Center For Research Resources, a Clinical Translational Science Award to the University of Chicago. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center For Research Resources or the National Institutes of Health.

Copyright © 2016. The Family Physicians Inquiries Network. All rights reserved.

Reprinted with permission from the Family Physicians Inquiries Network and The Journal of Family Practice. 2016;65(6):404-406.

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