Prescription NSAIDs are an important treatment for the symptoms of many debilitating conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other rheumatological and painful conditions. OTC NSAIDs are used to temporarily reduce fever and to treat minor aches and pains such as headaches, toothaches, backaches, muscular aches, tendonitis, strains, sprains and menstrual cramps. Common OTC NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). In addition, some combination medicines that relieve various symptoms, such as multi-symptom cold products, contain NSAIDs.
The recommendations in this guidance represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this guidance is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Two studies compared different types of non-selective NSAIDs, namely ibuprofen versus diclofenac and piroxicam versus indomethacin. The trials did not find any differences between these NSAID types, but both trials had small sample sizes. One trial reported no differences in pain intensity between treatment groups that used selective or non-selective NSAIDs. One other trial compared diflunisal with paracetamol and showed no difference in improvement from baseline on pain intensity score. One trial showed a better global improvement in favour of celecoxib versus tramadol.