Chronic pain can lead to significant disability with social and economic implications in the community. Traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been part of the management of chronic pain. The risk of adverse events with traditional NSAIDs has led to the development of alternative therapeutic options. Differential blockade of the enzymes involved in pain and inflammation can offer therapeutic options without the gastrointestinal side effects. However, this may be at the expense of other major cardiovascular side effects. Pain pathways that involve peripheral transmission may be altered by local application of analgesia to the skin overlying the painful area. Recent guidelines for osteoarthritis treatment from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence highlight the importance of topical NSAIDs in the armamentarium of pain management. NSAID combination drugs with gastric protection have provided alternatives to traditional NSAIDs, but the long term sequelae are unknown.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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