Out of all topical NSAIDs gel formulations work best for acute musculoskeletal pain and are a safe alternative to oral drugs, a Cochrane review concludes.
The review that included 61 studies and 8386 participants found topical NSAIDs provided good levels of pain relief in acute conditions such as sprains, strains, and overuse injuries, “probably similar to that provided by oral NSAIDs”.
Gel formulations of diclofenac (as Emugel®), ibuprofen, and ketoprofen, and some diclofenac patches provided the best effects.
“The present review supports the previous review in concluding that topical NSAIDs are effective in providing pain relief, and goes further to demonstrate that certain formulations, mainly gel formulations of diclofenac, ibuprofen, and ketoprofen, provide the best results.” said Sheena Derry, a Senior Research Officer at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and lead author of the Cochrane Review.
“This Cochrane Review offers important news to patients and clinicians; out of the topical NSAID options, gel formulations work best and they are a safe alternative to oral drugs.”