The study of 585 patients, aged 50 and over, from 26 general practices across the UK found that anti-inflammatory creams worked as well as NSAIDs and had fewer side-effects.
Patients treated with NSAIDs were more likely to experience minor adverse effects such as indigestion, increased BP and worsening asthma.
Lead researcher Professor Martin Underwood, from Queen Mary University in London, said: ‘The results of our research suggest that advising older people with chronic knee pain to use topical rather than oral NSAIDs could be appropriate, although for those who would prefer oral preparations this is still a reasonable treatment option.
‘These results will help GPs and their patients decide on whether topical or oral NSAIDs are the best choice for them.'
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