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Australian study indicates common painkillers ineffective for back pain

By |February 7, 2017|NSAIDs|

Commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat back pain provide little benefit and may make things worse according to new research from The George Institute for Global Health.

The findings of the systematic review, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, reveal only one in six patients treated with the pills, also known as NSAIDs, achieve any significant reduction in pain.

The study is the latest work from The George Institute questioning the effectiveness of existing medicines for treating back pain. Earlier research has already demonstrated paracetamol does not speed recovery or reduce pain for acute low back pain, and opioids provide minimal benefit over placebo.

Lead author Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira says the study highlights an urgent need to develop new therapies to treat back pain which affects 80 per cent of Australians during their lifetime.

A/Prof Ferreira, Senior Research Fellow at The George Institute and at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research, said: “Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is commonly managed by prescribing medicines such as anti-inflammatories. But our results show anti-inflammatory drugs actually only provide very limited short term pain relief. They do reduce the level of pain, but only very slightly, and arguably not of any clinical significance.”

A/Prof Ferreira added: “When you factor in the side effects which are very common, it becomes clear that these drugs are not the answer to providing pain relief to the many millions of Australians who suffer from this debilitating condition every year.”

The team at The George Institute, which examined 35 trials involving more than 6000 people, also found patients taking anti-inflammatories were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from gastro-intestinal problems such as stomach ulcers and bleeding.

Research Fellow Gustavo Machado, of The George Institute and the School of Medicine at the University of Sydney, said: “Millions of Australians are taking drugs that not only don’t work very well, they’re causing harm. We need treatments that will actually provide substantial relief of these people’s symptoms.

“Better still we need a stronger focus on preventing back pain in the first place. We know that education and exercise programs can substantially reduce the risk of developing low back pain.”

Most clinical guidelines currently recommend NSAIDs as the second line analgesics after paracetamol, with opioids coming at third choice.

 

Macquarie backs off from chiropractic

By |April 24, 2013|Chiropractic Education|

Source The Australian

Macquarie University has announced plans to offload its chiropractic teaching by 2015.

It said it would begin discussions with other “interested” higher education providers about taking over its chiropractic units and degrees, including academic staff and teaching facilities. Executive science dean Clive Baldock said his faculty wanted to concentrate on developing “recent major strategic investments” in research-intensive disciplines including biomedical science and engineering.

“Macquarie University has recently invested significantly in a postgraduate medical school and a state-of-the-art private hospital,” he said. “We naturally want to focus our efforts on supporting these initiatives with our teaching and research.” Professor Baldock issued a sales pitch to possible tenderers while acknowledging that the discipline didn’t meet Macquarie’s requirements “from a research-intensive perspective”.

“We believe our chiropractic degrees to be of the highest teaching quality, and they remain extremely popular with students,” he said.“We therefore believe the responsible thing to do is to begin discussions with other higher education providers who are keen to grow in this area.”

Australian scientists urge Central Queensland University to reconsider chiropractic science degree

By |December 12, 2011|News|

Source Adelaide Now

Some of Australia’s most eminent scientists have their noses, at least, out of joint after learning that a Queensland university will offer a “chiropractic science” degree next year.

A letter made public this week, signed by 34 scientists and doctors, including eight from Adelaide, urges Central Queensland University to reconsider.

“Our concerns are not limited to chiropractic but extend to all tertiary institutions that are involved in legitimising anti-science,” the letter says.

“It would be most regrettable to find that financial pressures may be tempting universities to betray their academic heritage.

“We appeal to you as fellow academics to reconsider your plans.”

The signatories are a who’s who of medical science, including former Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer, who created the cervical cancer vaccine.

Professor Alastair MacLennan, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Adelaide is one leading the charge.

He wants the public protected from alternative therapy. “We are trying to encourage universities not to introduce or continue anti-science nonsense degree courses in quackery (such as) naturopathy, homeopathy, iridology, acupuncture, energy medicine and chiropractic,” he says. (more…)