Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as adjuvant analgesics in cancer patients

Jenkins, C.A.; Bruera, E.
May 1999
Palliative Medicine;1999, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p183
Academic Journal
The role of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is examined in the control of cancer pain with a particular focus on their use as adjuvants to opioids in advanced cancer pain. These agents have both a peripheral effect on inflammation and a role in attenuating central pain pathways. The possibility of obtaining the benefits of NSAIDs with fewer side-effects by using COX-2-specific agents is discussed. The gastrointestinal, renal, haemostatic, cognitive and hypersensitivity side-effects of NSAIDs are reviewed and their potential impact assessed. The evidence for the efficacy of NSAIDs as single agents for cancer pain is reviewed together with the nine papers which have reported the effects of NSAIDs as adjuvants to opioids in cancer pain. All of these papers reported positive results of NSAIDs, but, in the absence of any randomized, double-blind controlled trials, where NSAIDs were used as adjuvants on a long-term basis alongside optimal opioid use, definite conclusions cannot be reached. Guidelines for the safe use of NSAIDs are suggested. Finally, suggestions for future research are made.


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