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Two studies compared different types of non-selective NSAIDs, namely ibuprofen versus diclofenac and piroxicam versus indomethacin. The trials did not find any differences between these NSAID types, but both trials had small sample sizes. One trial reported no differences in pain intensity between treatment groups that used selective or non-selective NSAIDs. One other trial compared diflunisal with paracetamol and showed no difference in improvement from baseline on pain intensity score. One trial showed a better global improvement in favour of celecoxib versus tramadol.
Our search identified 604 potentially relevant studies. Of these, 14 studies (15 interventions) were RCTs and met our inclusion criteria. The numbers of participants were 352, 138 and 1745 for aspirin, steroid and NSAIDs groups, respectively. One selected study comprised two separate interventions. Interventions assessed in these studies were grouped into four categories: aspirin (three interventions), steroids (one intervention), traditional NSAIDs (six interventions), and selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors (five interventions). All studies were evaluated for internal validity using a risk of bias assessment tool. The risk of bias was low for five studies, high for seven studies, and unclear for two was no significant improvement in cognitive decline for aspirin, steroid, traditional NSAIDs and selective COX-2 inhibitors. Compared to controls, patients receiving aspirin experienced more bleeding while patients receiving steroid experienced more hyperglycaemia, abnormal lab results and face edema. Patients receiving NSAIDs experienced nausea, vomiting, elevated creatinine, elevated LFT and hypertension. A trend towards higher death rates was observed among patients treated with NSAIDS compared with placebo and this was somewhat higher for selective COX-2 inhibitors than for traditional NSAIDs.