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Paracetamol ineffective at treating arthritic ankle pain

Monday 21st March 2016
Paracetamol is not effective at treating joint pain, new research has shown. Image: iStock/dolgachov
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Podiatrists treating patients suffering with arthritic pain in their feet and ankles should take note of new research that shows paracetamol has no significant effect on this condition.

A study published in the Lancet and carried out by doctors from the University of Bordeaux in France and the University of Bern in Switzerland led to the discovery that the over-the-counter drug has no real impact on treating arthritic pain, meaning doctors and patients alike may need to find alternative solutions.

This conclusion was reached following extensive analysis of 74 previous studies that focused on the effect of different pharmaceutical drugs on osteoarthritis, encompassing data relating to almost 60,000 patients in total.

The impact of eight non-steroid-based, anti-inflammatory medications was explored, with scientists finding that diclofenac was the most effective. Diclofenac is marketed under a variety of names around the world, including Aclonac, Cataflam and Voltaren.

Lead author of the study Sven Trelle of the University of Bern commented: "Our results suggest that paracetamol at any dose is not effective in managing pain in osteoarthritis."

With osteoarthritis affecting the joints - including the ankles, knees, wrists and the spine - and occurring when the protective cartilage at the ends of bones is worn away, the researchers explained that they were not particularly surprised to discover that paracetamol had no effect on the condition.

The study authors stated: "Paracetamol has been on the market for as long as most of us remember. Its efficacy has never been properly established or quantified in chronic diseases."

In total, it is thought that around 18 per cent of women and 9.5 per cent of men aged 60 and over are affected by osteoarthritis.

Written by Angela Newbury

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