Cochrane Summaries

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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or paracetamol, alone or combined with opioids, for the treatment of cancer pain

McNicol ED, Strassels S, Goudas L, Lau J, Carr DB
Published Online: 
15 June 2011

NSAIDs are commonly used, often in combination with an opioid, for treatment of cancer pain. Short-term studies have shown that NSAIDs alone are effective in managing cancer pain, with side effects similar to placebo and in about 50% of studies, increasing the dose of NSAID can increase efficacy without increasing the incidence of side effects. Similar studies have not demonstrated a large clinical difference when combining an opioid with an NSAID versus either medication alone. Insufficient long-term studies have been conducted to provide information on chronic safety and effectiveness of NSAIDs alone or with opioids in treating cancer pain.