The natural course of acute sciatica with nerve root symptoms in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial evaluating the effect of piroxicam

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1993 Sep 1;18(11):1433-8.


To study the natural history of acute sciatica, 208 patients with obvious symptoms and signs of a lumbar radiculopathy (L5 and S1) were examined within 14 days of onset. A concomitant double-blind investigation of the effect of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug piroxicam was performed. The results measured by visual analog scale and Roland's functional tests showed a satisfactory improvement throughout the 4 weeks of observation. The piroxicam-treated group had same results as the control group. Based on questionnaires at months 3 and 12 approximately 30% of the patients still complained about back trouble and 19.5% were out of work after 1 year. Four patients underwent surgery during this period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / drug therapy*
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Piroxicam / therapeutic use*
  • Sciatica / drug therapy*
  • Sciatica / epidemiology
  • Spinal Nerve Roots*


  • Piroxicam