Neurology Central

Non-prescription drugs recommended in guidelines for common pain conditions


This review provides a summary of national and international evidence-based guidelines for common pain conditions to guide primary healthcare practitioners on recommended non-prescription analgesic treatments. Following an analysis of relevant guidelines, the authors conclude the most consistent message for patients is that acetaminophen and NSAIDs are the best analgesic options for the initial, self-treatment of pain.

The latest review article published in Pain Management discusses whether there is a consensus between guidelines regarding preliminary steps that patients can take to relieve pain.

Abstract: Evidence-based pain guidelines allow recommendation of non-prescription analgesics to patients, facilitating self-care. We researched clinical practice guidelines for common conditions on websites of pain associations, societies, health institutions and organizations, PubMed, ProQuest, Embase, Google Scholar until April 2019. We wanted to determine whether there is a consensus between guidelines. From 114 identified guidelines, migraine (27) and osteoarthritis (26) have been published most around the world, while dysmenorrhea (14) is mainly discussed in developing countries. Specific recommendations to pregnant women, children and older people predominantly come from the UK and USA. We found that acetaminophen and oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) represent first-line management across all pain conditions in adults and children. In osteoarthritis, topical NSAIDs should be considered before oral NSAIDs. This knowledge might persuade patients that using these drugs first could enable fast and effective pain relief. 

View the full paper