The long and winding road of non steroidal antinflammatory drugs andparacetamol in cancer pain management: A critical review

Antonino Giarratano, Sebastiano Mercadante, Antonino Giarratano

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

30 Citazioni (Scopus)


The aim of this review was to assess the value of NSAIDs and paracetamol in patients with cancer pain to update a previous reviewperformed ten years ago on this topic. The approach was analytic and based on clinical considerations, rather than on raw evidence, whichoften does not provide useful information in clinical practice. Both published reports from an extensive search of electronic data bases werecollected from January 2001 to December 2011. A free-text search method was used including the following words and their combination:“Anti-inflammatory drugs OR paracetamol OR acetaminophen” AND/OR “cancer pain”. Any randomized-controlled trial was considered.Thirteen reports fulfitted inclusion criteria in this systematic review. Randomized trials have been performed by using different modalitiesof intervention. Single drugs added on opioid therapy or during opioid substitution with opioids as rescue drugs through a patient controlledanalgesia, were compared with placebo or between them. Five studies regarded paracetamol. Other four studies assessed the efficacy dipyrone,ketorolac, dexketoprofen, and subcutaneous ketoprofen in cancer pain management, mainly on top of an opioid regimen. The role of paracetamoland NSAIDs in the management of cancer pain still remains controversial. The papers published in this last decade were unable to answerthe main questions. There is no proof that they should be used to start the treatment and how long they should be administered when opioidtreatment is added on top. While paracetamol seems to be devoid of any benefit, particularly if given at usual clinical doses which shouldbe less than 4 g/day, ketorolac seems to provide an additive analgesic effect even in patients receiving different doses of opioids. The mainindication from the analysis of these data is that NSAIDs could be given in patients receiving opioids, evaluating their benefit and weight onopioid therapy in individual patients who have a favorable response to justify a prolonged use.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine0
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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