A new Australian study has found that the highly recommended painkiller Tylenol, also called acetaminophen, is not effective in treating lower back pain.
The researchers conducted study on more than 1,600 people who suffered from acute lower back pain and discovered that the drug had no result in comparison to a dummy pill.
Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline Australia partially funded the study which completely refuted the efficacy of the drug.
According to the researchers, apart from being non-functional in easing discomfort, the drug also not helped people with back pain in improving their sleep problem.
Aacetaminophen has been the first choice when treatment of back pain is concerned.
Lead author Dr. Christopher Williams said, “The drug might not be of primary importance in the management of acute lower back pain.”
Williams works at the University of Sydney’s George Institute for Global Health in Australia.
However, another expert sought for more in-depth research, saying it’s probably too early to refute acetaminophen to treat lower back pain.
Dr. Houman Danesh, director of Integrative Pain Management and assistant professor of anesthesiology at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, “While this is a fascinating study, it is only one study and shouldn’t change clinical behavior.”
Meanwhile, Tylenol’s maker McNeil Consumer Healthcare has disassociated the study findings, saying the doctors must re-consider the study results and the entire scientific evidences when making recommendations.
The company said, “The safety and efficacy profile of the drug is supported by over 150 studies in the past 50 years.”
1,650 people, who suffered lower back pain and are in the age group averaging 45 years participated in the study. All the participants had and were treated at 235 different Sydney primary care facilities.
Each participant was randomly asked to take either 3 doses of acetaminophen on daily basis for up to four weeks or a placebo pill.
The researchers found that there were no differences in the health of the participants. The median time to recovery for patients taking acetaminophen was 17 days. However, it was 16 days for those in the placebo group.
They also found that there was no effect on the participant’s pain level as compared to those who were given the dummy pill.
The drug also failed to improve the sleep quality, level of disability, or quality of life in these patients.
The study was published online in the July 23 issue of the journal The Lancet.