Caffeine has been added to over-the-counter pain medications for decades. It is normally found in chocolate, tea, soda and coffee.
By itself, caffeine is not an effective pain reliever. However there has been inherited wisdom over the last few decades that it helps other pain drugs. The reason is that studies done about three decades ago showed some slight evidence of its effectiveness when added to pain medications and it’s been used therefore ever since.
A new study out of the Cochrane Library looked at multiple other studies trying to determine the true effectiveness of caffeine at boosting pain medication’s effectiveness. Almost 20 studies were looked at which included over 7000 patients who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These studies definitely showed that caffeine did boost the effectiveness of these medications.
Compared to the medications that had no caffeine included, caffeine-enhanced drugs allowed an additional 10% of patients to experience at least half of the maximum possible pain relief over a 46 hour period. More patients who had the caffeine in their medication considered their treatment very good or excellent, and also more had relief of their headaches.
Why caffeine helps pain medication is unknown. A few possibilities are it may help the medication get into the bloodstream faster, it may slow medications clearance from the bloodstream, or it may actually change how individuals perceive pain along with enhancing mood.
It is also unknown if adding caffeine to narcotic pain medications would have the same beneficial effect. My thoughts are that it would, but this research did not look at opiate pain medication enhanced with caffeine.
If you live in the Phoenix metropolitan area and are experiencing chronic pain, Arizona Pain Specialists can help. They provide comprehensive pain management doctors in Arizona including treatments with injections, medication management, physical rehabilitation, spinal decompression therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.
These AZ pain clinics serve the whole valley with multiple locations in Glendale, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, Mesa and more. They accept all major medical insurances along with Medicare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United healthcare, Worker’s Compensation, personal-injury, Mercy care, APIPA, and self-pay as well.
Call 602-507-6550 today for scheduling. You do not have to live in chronic pain!