Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

Caffeine as an analgesic adjuvant for acute pain in adults

Derry CJ, Derry S, Moore RA
Published Online: 
15 August 2012

Caffeine is commonly used as a component in pain-relieving medicines available from pharmacies without a prescription. An adjuvant is something that is added to a medicine to make it work better. This review examined whether caffeine improves the pain-relieving effects of such medicines; studies evaluated focused on several pain conditions, including headache, post-dental pain, postoperative pain following childbirth, and menstrual period pain. The review found that adding caffeine, at a dose equivalent to a mug of coffee to a standard dose of common analgesics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen increases the number of people with acute pain who will experience a good level of pain relief by 5% to 10%.

This record should be cited as: 
Derry CJ, Derry S, Moore RA. Caffeine as an analgesic adjuvant for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD009281. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009281.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
4 January 2012