In the journals

Certain medications are less risky and more effective at reducing spine discomfort in those 65 and over According to research published online on June 27, 2022 from The Drugs and Aging.

Investigators looked over 138 trials which examined the way in which various medications can help ease spine related pain that is caused by arthritic, muscular or nerve discomfort within the midback, neck and lower back. The findings are a useful reference for doctors as well as older adults. These are the main findings:

Drugs available over-the-counter: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) are both safe and effective but NSAIDs are more beneficial. These drugs should be taken at the doses that are most effective to minimize the risk of adverse side consequences.

Nerve pain medications: Gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica) can help to reduce the neck or back nerve back pain particularly sciatica. Start by taking small doses of the drugs to reduce daytime drowsiness as well as the risk of falling.

The muscle relaxants. Tizanidine (Zanaflex) and baclofen (Lioresal) could help reduce muscle spasms and pain. Patients with liver diseases should stay clear of tizanidine and those suffering from kidney disease are advised to take baclofen in smaller dosages. Also, avoid the following drugs: carisoprodol (Soma) as well as chlorzoxazone (generic only) and Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix) metaxalone (Metaxall) Methocarbamol (Robaxin) and orphena-drine (generic only) due to the risk for falls and drowsiness.

Antidepressants. Duloxetine (Cymbalta), a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, appears safe for spine-related nerve pain like sciatica. Avoid the majority of tricyclic antidepressants because of the possibility of adverse unwanted side adverse effects. Nortriptyline (Pamelor) and desipramine (Norpramin) are more easily tolerated at lower doses.

Corticosteroids. A short course could help, however the evidence isn’t strong.

Opioids that are traditional. Avoid due to the risk of addiction.