We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a fixed-dose combination (FDC) of tramadol and diclofenac versus a standard approved FDC of tramadol and paracetamol, in patients with acute moderate to severe pain.
A total of 204 patients with moderate to severe pain due to acute musculoskeletal conditions (n=52), acute flare of osteoarthritis (n=52), acute flare of rheumatoid arthritis (n=50), or postoperative pain (n=50) were enrolled in the study at baseline. Each disease category was then randomized to receive either of two treatments for 5 days: group A received an FDC of immediate-release tramadol hydrochloride (50 mg) and sustained-release diclofenac sodium (75 mg) (one tablet, twice daily), and group B received an FDC of tramadol hydrochloride (37.5 mg) and paracetamol (325 mg) (two tablets every 4–6 hours, up to a maximum of eight tablets daily). The primary efficacy end points were reductions in pain intensity from baseline at day 3 and day 5 as assessed by a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score.
Group A showed a significant reduction in the VAS score for overall pain from baseline on day 3 (P=0.001) and day 5 (P<0.0001) as compared with group B. The combination of tramadol-diclofenac resulted in few mild to moderate adverse events (nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and gastritis), which required minimal management, without any treatment discontinuation. The number of adverse events in group A was nine (8.82%) compared with 22 (21.78%) in group B, after 5 days of treatment.
An FDC of tramadol-diclofenac showed a significantly greater reduction in pain intensity and was well tolerated compared with tramadol-paracetamol, resulting in better analgesia in patients suffering from moderate to severe pain due to acute musculoskeletal conditions, postoperative pain following orthopedic surgery, or acute flare of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.