Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for neuropathic pain

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Oct 5;2015(10):CD010902. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010902.pub2.


Background: Although often considered to be lacking adequate evidence, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used in the management of neuropathic pain. Previous surveys found 18% to 47% of affected people reported using NSAIDs specifically for their neuropathic pain, although possibly not in the United Kingdom (UK).

Objectives: To assess the analgesic efficacy of oral NSAIDs for chronic neuropathic pain in adults, when compared to placebo or another active intervention, and the adverse events associated with its use in clinical trials.

Search methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE from inception to 29 May 2015, together with reference lists of retrieved papers and reviews, and an online trials registry.

Selection criteria: We included randomised, double-blind studies of two weeks duration or longer, comparing any oral NSAID with placebo or another active treatment in chronic neuropathic pain.

Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently searched for studies, extracted efficacy and adverse event data, and examined issues of study quality. We did not carry out any pooled analysis.

Main results: We included two studies involving 251 participants with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component or postherpetic neuralgia; 209 of these participants were involved in a study of an experimental NSAID not used in clinical practice, and of the remaining 42, only 16 had neuropathic pain. This represented only third tier evidence, and was of very low quality. There was no indication of any significant pain reduction with NSAIDs. Adverse event rates were low, with insufficient events for any analysis.

Authors' conclusions: There is no evidence to support or refute the use of oral NSAIDs to treat neuropathic pain conditions.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Back Pain / drug therapy
  • Celecoxib / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy*
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / drug therapy
  • Pregabalin / therapeutic use
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Pyridazines / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • GW406381X
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridazines
  • Pregabalin
  • Celecoxib