Scientists have found paracetemol may not be the answer to relieving back pain or osteoarthritis, despite it being recommended for these ailments.
A review of 13 clinical trials found the drug did not reduce pain, disability or improve quality of life for back pain sufferers.
Instead, the study published in the British Medical Journal, warned the drug increased the odds of liver problems.
The University of Sydney researchers assessed data from more than 5,000 patients.
Paracetamol was found to be “ineffective” at reducing back pain.
In osteoarthritis in the hip or knee, they found a small improvement with paracetamol. Yet the impact was so small it was considered “not clinically important”.
“Paracetamol is the most widely used over-the counter medicine for musculoskeletal conditions so it is critical that we review treatment recommendations in light of this new evidence,” said Gustavo Machado, one of the researchers.
“In our research, paracetamol for low back pain and osteoarthritis was also shown to be associated with higher risk of liver toxicity in patients.”
“Patients were nearly four times more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests compared to those taking placebo pills.”