Effectiveness of diclofenac versus paracetamol in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled trial in primary care

Saskia Verkleij, Pim Luijsterburg, Sten Willemsen, Bart Koes, AM Bohnen, Sita Bierma - Zeinstra

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Background The effectiveness of diclofenac versus paracetamol in primary care patients with pain caused by knee osteoarthritis is unclear. Aim To assess the effectiveness of diclofenac compared with paracetamol over a period of 2, 4, and 12 weeks in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Design and setting Randomised controlled trial in general practice. Method There were 104 patients included in the study, they were aged >= 45 years consulting their GP with knee pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. Patients were randomly allocated to diclofenac (n = 52) or paracetamol (n = 52) for at least 2 weeks. Primary outcomes were daily knee pain severity, and knee pain and function measured with the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). Results Over a period of 2- and 4-weeks follow-up, no significant difference in daily knee pain was found between the patient groups: estimated differences of 0.5 (95% CI = -0.2 to 1.3) and -0.2 (95% CI = -1.0 to 0.7), respectively. Over the 12-weeks follow-up, no significant differences were found between both groups for KOOS pain: estimated difference of -2.8 (95% CI = -10.7 to 5.1) and KOOS function of -2.7 (-10.6 to 5.0). Conclusion Over a period of 2- and 4-weeks follow-up no significant difference in daily measured knee pain severity was found between primary care patients with knee osteoarthritis taking paracetamol or diclofenac. Also, over a period of 12-weeks follow-up no significant differences were found regarding KOOS pain and KOOS function between both groups. Patients more frequently reported minor adverse events after taking diclofenac (64%) than paracetamol (46%).
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)E530-E537
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number637
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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