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Adding caffeine to analgesics improves pain relief

  • 5 Comments

Adding caffeine, at a dose equivalent to a mug of coffee to a standard dose of common analgesics, increases the number of people with acute pain who will experience a good level of pain relief, according to a Cochrane review by Oxford University.

The researchers said caffeine was commonly used as a component in analgesic preparations available from pharmacies without a prescription but until now there had been little evidence to support the practice.

They reviewed 19 studies, involving around 7,000 patients, in which a single dose of analgesic plus caffeine was compared with the same dose of analgesic alone. In most of the studies 100-130mg caffeine was used as an adjuvant to paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Conditions treated included headache, post-dental pain, postoperative pain following childbirth, and menstrual period pain.

The researchers found a “small but statistically significant” benefit with caffeine used at doses of 100mg or more, which was not dependent on the pain condition or type of analgesic.

The authors said: “About 5% to 10% more participants achieve a good level of pain relief (at least 50% of the maximum) with the addition of caffeine, giving a number needed to treat of about 15.

“The addition of caffeine to a standard dose of commonly used analgesics provides a small but important increase in the proportion of participants who experience a good level of pain relief,” they said.

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • Would the effect/benefit be the same if the patient take the medication with cup of coffee or does it need to be in the medication?

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  • Anonymous | 15-Apr-2012 1:43 am

    same question came to me as I was reading the article.

    I wonder whether a cup of tea has the same effect.

    Considering many people drink either tea or coffee several times a day anyway does this increase the effects of any analgesics?



    “Nutrition and healthy eating
    Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more

    By Mayo Clinic staff

    Coffee

    Type of coffee Size* Caffeine**

    Espresso, restaurant-style 1 oz. (30 mL) 40-75 mg

    Espresso, restaurant-style, decaffeinated 1 oz. (30 mL) 0-15 mg

    Generic brewed 8 oz. (240 mL) 95-200 mg

    Generic brewed, decaffeinated 8 oz. (240 mL) 2-12 mg

    Generic instant 8 oz. (240 mL) 27-173 mg

    Generic instant, decaffeinated 8 oz. (240 mL) 2-12 mg

    McDonald's brewed 16 oz. (480 mL) 100 mg

    McDonald's Mocha Frappe 16 oz. (480 mL) 125 mg

    Starbucks Latte 16 oz. (480 mL) 150 mg

    Starbucks Pike Place brewed 16 oz. (480 mL) 330 mg

    Starbucks Pike Place brewed, decaffeinated 16 oz. (480 mL) 25 mg

    Adapted from Journal of Food Science, 2010; Pediatrics, 2011; USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23, 2010; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2006; Starbucks, 2011; McDonald's, 2011

    *Sizes are listed in fluid ounces (oz.) and milliliters (mL).

    **Caffeine is listed in milligrams (mg).


    Tea

    Type of tea Size* Caffeine**

    Brewed tea

    Black tea 8 oz. (240 mL) 14-61 mg

    Black tea, decaffeinated 8 oz. (240 mL) 0-12 mg

    Green tea 8 oz. (240 mL) 24-40 mg

    Iced tea

    AriZona Iced Tea, lemon-flavored 8 oz. (240 mL) 11 mg

    Generic instant, unsweetened 8 oz. (240 mL) 26 mg

    Lipton Brisk Lemon Iced Tea 8 oz. (240 mL) 5-7 mg

    Adapted from Journal of Food Science, 2010; Pediatrics, 2011; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2008; USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23, 2010; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2006

    *Sizes are listed in fluid ounces (oz.) and milliliters (mL).

    **Caffeine is listed in milligrams (mg).”

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeine/an01211


    ANOTHER HELPFUL WEBSITE


    Caffeine in Coffee vs Tea
    The Definitive Guide

    http://www.the-tea-site.com/caffeine-in-coffee-vs-tea.php

    “Instant coffee has at least 65mg of caffeine per 8oz. serving. (This will obviously go higher if you add more coffee granules to your cup.)”

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  • Would be interesting to do a double blind trial - with decaffinated coffee!

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  • yeah great news not for me though as i am sensitvie to caffeine

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  • many patients can't drink a cup of coffee or tea with their medication for various reasons

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