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Revista Uruguaya de Medicina Interna

Print version ISSN 2393-6797On-line version ISSN 2393-6797


FABBIANI, Stefano; GARAFONI, Federico; CATENACCIO, Valentina  and  SPERANZA, Noelia. Efficacy and safety of topical NSAIDs. Rev. Urug. Med. Int. [online]. 2019, vol.4, n.3, pp.8-16.  Epub Dec 01, 2019. ISSN 2393-6797.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are one of the most prescribed pharmacological groups worldwide. In recent years the use of topical NSAID has increased, with a growing prevalence of prescription.


The aim of the present work was to review the efficacy and safety of topical NSAID compared to oral administration for the treatment of pain.

Material and method:

A narrative review was made using the Pubmed database. The evidence that supports the use of topical NSAID in terms of efficacy is compared with placebo, include a small number of patients and use soft primary outcomes, which constitutes a methodological limitation to asses their benefit, not allowing to analyze the available evidence according to the aim set. Regarding safety, the incidence of adverse effects most frequently reported are gastrointestinal, which are less frequent with topical administration, however, this route adds adverse cutaneous effects at the administration site.


The ease of access to these medications, the low risk perception due to it is a non-systemic route and the limited available evidence stimulate the irrational use of topical NSAID.

Keywords : efficacy; safety; NSAID; topic route; topic administration; cream; gel; patch; pain.

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