Editor’s note: This post has been left available to view, as an example of our experiments with sharing evidence in creative ways, but please note that, unlike our normal blogs, it has not been updated and so may not represent the latest Cochrane evidence.
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 In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question (e.g. is paracetamol effective and safe for treating back pain?). The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. More 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