Results of a study published online earlier this week in in JAMA conclude that the effectiveness of prescription strength naproxen in relieving low back pain is not enhanced by the addition of either opioids or muscle relaxants. The study assessed prescription strength naproxen (NaprosynÒ) alone vs in combination with either PercocetÒ (oxycodone + acetaminophen) or Amrix Ò (cyclobenzaprine). Lead researcher Benjamin Friedman, MD, MS, associate professor of emergency medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, reported that the combination therapies provided no better pain relief than did naproxen alone. “…for those patients who have already optimized their NSAID regimen, there are no additional medical therapies available,” Friedman added.
Commenting on the research, Dr. Houman Danesh, director of integrative pain management in the department of anesthesiology-pain at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said, “This is another study to add to the pile that says narcotics are not appropriate to treat back pain.” Both Danesh and Friedman additionally counseled the engagement of complementary therapies including yoga, stretching, and massage, as more appropriate to the treatment of low back pain than the layering on of additional medications.
To access the painweek.org library of information about LBP and opioids, click here.
A news story about the findings, with additional commentary on treating LBP, may be read here.
The journal abstract may be accessed here.