A new study has found that Naproxen, a pain reliever that is available over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription (Rx), appears to provide as much relief for lower back pain as a narcotic painkiller or a muscle relaxant, HealthDay reports.
The study compared the sole use of prescription-strength Naproxen (Naprosyn) with the use of OTC naproxen with the Rx painkiller oxycodone with acetaminophen (Percocet), or the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine (Amrix).
The data underscored that patients who took a combination of the medications did not feel pain relief any better than when they took naproxen alone, according to study researchers.
“Acute low back pain is a frustrating condition,” said lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Friedman, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “Adding the narcotics or muscle relaxants to naproxen therapy didn’t help pain or function any more than naproxen alone. Nearly 50 percent of patients were still suffering one week later and nearly 25 percent of the patients were still suffering three months later.”
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. Although fewer doctors are prescribing narcotic painkillers for back pain, many still do.”
The report was published Oct. 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.