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Systematic review
Topical NSAIDs significantly reduces pain in adults with acute musculoskeletal injuries
  1. Gwendolyn Vuurberg1,2,3,
  2. Gino M M J Kerkhoffs1,2,3
  1. 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Academic Center for Evidence based Sports medicine (ACES)
  3. 3Amsterdam Collaboration for Health and Safety in Sports (ACHSS), International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Center AMC/VUmc
  1. Correspondence to: Gwendolyn Vuurberg, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam 1105 AZ, The Netherlands; g.m.kerkhoffs{at}

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Use of topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief is widely controversial in analgesic practice.1 For the topical NSAIDs to have an effect on acute pain, the formulation has to penetrate the skin. The expected advantages of this type of administration are both potential minimisation of systemic side effects and increase of local effect. However, there is still debate on these potential advantages as there is continuous lack of significant positive results.2–4 A Cochrane review update was recently carried out to assess the effect of topical NSAIDs used for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults.5 This review aimed to strengthen conclusions on the efficacy and safety of topically applied NSAIDs in acute musculoskeletal pain in adults, adding recently published studies to the previous search.


The review included only double-blinded …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.