3 recent Cochrane reviews evaluated how well various medications treat cancer pain. Among the findings:
- Morphine-like drugs: 95% people with moderate or severe pain who are given opioids and can tolerate them should have that pain reduced to mild or no pain within 14 days. However, most will experience adverse events (152 studies, more than 13,000 individuals).
- Paracetamol: There is no high-quality evidence to support or refute the use of paracetamol alone or in combination with opioids for the first 2 steps of the 3-step WHO cancer pain ladder (3 studies, 122 participants).
- Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: There is no high-quality evidence to support or refute the use of NSAIDs alone or in combination with opioids for the 3 steps of the WHO cancer pain ladder (11 studies, nearly 1,000 participants).
Wiffen PJ, Wee B, Derry S, Bell RF, Moore R. Opioids for cancer pain—an overview of Cochrane reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD012592. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012592.pub2.
Derry S, Wiffen PJ, Moore R, McNicol ED, Bell RF, Carr DB, McIntyre M, Wee B. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD012638. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012638.pub2.
Wiffen P, Derry S, Moore R, et al. Oral paracetamol (acetaminophen) for cancer pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD012637. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012637.pub2.
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