Content » Vol 46, Issue 4

Review article

The efficacy of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for rotator cuff tendinopathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Jennifer Boudreault, François Desmeules, Jean-Sébastien Roy, Clermont Dionne , Pierre Frémont , Joy C. MacDermid
Orthopaedic clinical research unit, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, H1T 2M4 Montreal, Canada
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1800


Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis on the efficacy of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for rotator cuff tendinopathy.
Design: Systematic review.
Method: A literature search was conducted in 4 databases for randomized controlled trials published until 05/2013, comparing the efficacy of oral anti-inflammatory drugs to any other intervention.  Studies characteristics were extracted using a standardized form and the methodological quality was evaluated. Results were summarized qualitatively or quantitatively.
Results: The mean methodological score of the 12 included studies was 53. 6 ± 8. 8%. The majority of studies included acute cases and were underpowered to detect differences in adverse events. Compared to a placebo, oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were found to provide short-term pain relief (pooled mean difference: –2. 69; 95% confidence interval: –1. 96 to –3. 41) but not function. Oral anti-inflammatory- drugs and corticosteroids injections have similar short-term efficacy in terms of pain reduction as well as in function (pooled standardized mean difference: 0. 09; 95% confidence interval: –0. 25 to 0. 44).
Conclusion: Low to moderate grade evidence exists regarding the efficacy of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for rotator cuff tendinopathy. Oral anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in reducing short-term pain but not function. In terms of pain and function, oral anti-inflammatory drugs in the short term are as effective as corticosteroid injections.

Lay Abstract


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