Nav: Home

Placebo and valium are equally effective for acute lower back pain in the ER

February 16, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Emergency patients treated with naproxen and placebo had outcomes as good as or better than patients treated with naproxen and diazepam (trade name Valium) for acute lower back pain, according to the results of a double-blind, randomized clinical trial published last week in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("Diazepam Is No Better Than Placebo When Added to Naproxen for Acute Low Back Pain").

"Our study contributes to the growing body of literature indicating that, in general, most medications do not improve acute lower back pain," said lead study author Benjamin Friedman, MD, MS, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Health System in Bronx, New York. "One week after being discharged from the emergency department, lower back pain patients had improved equally, regardless of whether they were treated with naproxen and diazepam or naproxen and placebo. By three months after visiting the emergency department, most patients had recovered completely, regardless of what treatment they received."

Researchers randomized 114 patients who came to the emergency department with new-onset lower back pain to two groups: one group was treated with a combination of naproxen (a non-prescription, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication) and diazepam and the other was treated with a combination of naproxen and placebo. One week after visiting the emergency department, the diazepam group improved by 11 points on the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, as did the placebo group.

After one week, 31.5 percent of the diazepam patients reported moderate or severe lower back pain, while 21.8 percent of the placebo patients did. At three months, 12 percent of diazepam patients reported moderate or severe lower back pain, while 9 percent of placebo patients did. The differences are not considered clinically or statistically significant.

"Millions of patients come to the ER every year seeking relief for back pain, which can be debilitating," said Dr. Friedman. "Unfortunately, we have yet to come up with the silver bullet in pill form that helps them. If anything, we may be overmedicating these patients."
-end-
Annals of Emergency Medicine is the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians, the national medical society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research, and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.acep.org.

American College of Emergency Physicians

Related Emergency Department Articles:

Emoji buttons gauge emergency department sentiments in real time
Simple button terminals stationed around emergency departments featuring 'emoji' reflecting a range of emotions are effective in monitoring doctor and patient sentiments in real time.
Emergency department openings and closures impact resources for heart attack patients
A new study has found that hospital emergency room closures can adversely affect health outcomes for heart attack patients at neighboring hospitals that are near or at full capacity.
Is caregiver depression associated with more emergency department visits by patients with dementia?
An observational study of 663 caregivers and the patients with dementia they care for suggests caregiver depression is associated with increased emergency department visits for their patients.
Physical and mental illnesses combined increase emergency department visits
People with both physical illnesses and mental disorders visit the emergency department more frequently than people with multiple physical illnesses or mental illness alone, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Reducing overtesting in the emergency department could save millions
A new study finds there's excessive imaging testing being performed in the emergency department.
More Emergency Department News and Emergency Department Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...