Evidently Advent Day 13: best health evidence wrapped up for the festive season!

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Have rubefacients been shown the red light?


Have you got a cupboard full of those creams that you rub on to soothe sore muscles and they make your skin red and hot? That must work, mustn’t it? Well a Cochrane review has just been updated with the latest evidence on these topical ‘rubefacients’; the lotion or potion contains a drug (in this review they all contained salicylates, a commonly used rubefacient) which increases the blood flow, hence the reddening effect. They were used for acute painful conditions, sprains, and chronic ones, like osteoarthritis.

Bottom line? There’s no good evidence that they give useful pain relief. You can read more by visiting the link below.

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Derry S, Matthews PR L, Wiffen PJ, Moore R. Salicylate-containing rubefacients for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD007403. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007403.pub3 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD007403/SYMPT_topical-rubefacients-for-acute-and-chronic-musculoskeletal-pain-in-adults#sthash.fzJsCZFk.dpuf

Sarah Chapman

About Sarah Chapman

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Sarah's work as a Knowledge Broker at Cochrane UK focuses on disseminating Cochrane evidence through social media, including Evidently Cochrane blogs, blogshots and the ‘Evidence for Everyday’ series for nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and patients. A former registered general nurse, Sarah has a particular interest making evidence accessible and useful to practitioners and to others making decisions about health. Before joining Cochrane, Sarah also worked on systematic reviews for the University of Oxford and the Royal College of Nursing Institute, and obtained degrees in History from the University of Oxford and in the history of women’s health and illness in early modern England (MPhil., University of Reading).

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