Topical Therapy for Acute Pain in Adults

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications that include ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Motrin® and Advil®), ketoprofen, diclofenac, and piroxicam. Topical NSAIDs (gels and creams) are widely used to treat acute musculoskeletal conditions due to their potential to provide pain relief without the side effects associated with these medications when they are taken orally. Researchers at the University of Oxford reviewed the medical databases for well designed studies in which topical NSAIDs were administered to adult patients with acute pain resulting from strains, sprains or sports or overuse-type injuries (twisted ankle, for instance). The analysis concluded: “Topical NSAIDs can provide good levels of pain relief, without the systemic adverse events associated with oral NSAIDs, when used to treat acute musculoskeletal conditions.”

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