Efficacy of a paracetamol and caffeine combination in the treatment of the key symptoms of primary dysmenorrhoea

Curr Med Res Opin. 2007 Apr;23(4):841-51. doi: 10.1185/030079907x182239.


Objective: Primary dysmenorrhoea is characterised by pain, cramping and backache at the time of menses. Despite the high prevalence of dysmenorrhoea, few sufficiently powered, placebo-controlled studies have examined the efficacy of over the counter analgesics in this condition. Furthermore, even fewer studies have directly examined the efficacy of analgesics on specific dysmenorrhoea symptoms. Research design and main outcome measures: This was a single-dose, placebo-controlled, double blind, crossover study carried out in 320 women with moderate-to-severe dysmenorrhoea pain. At 2 h following dosing, 1 g paracetamol plus 130 mg caffeine led to significantly greater pain relief compared to 1 g paracetamol alone (p < 0.05), 130 mg caffeine alone (p < 0.01) or placebo (p < 0.01). The combination was also significantly more effective in relieving abdominal cramping and backache compared to the other treatment arms. No major treatment related adverse events were reported during this study.

Conclusions: When taken at recommended doses, both paracetamol and the combination of paracetamol and caffeine are safe and effective treatments for primary dysmenorrhoea. Consistent with results from other acute pain states, caffeine acts as an analgesic adjuvant and enhances the efficacy of paracetamol.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage*
  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Caffeine / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Dysmenorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Placebos
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Placebos
  • Acetaminophen
  • Caffeine