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Evidence on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticoids for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is inconclusive and is not up to date. This systematic review assessed the effectiveness and safety of these anti-inflammatories (AI) in the treatment of RA. COCHRANE (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science and Virtual Health Library were searched to identify randomized controlled trials (RCT) with adults which used AI (dose represented in mg/day) compared with placebo or active controls and was carried out up to December of 2019. Reviewers, in pairs and independently, selected studies, performed the data extraction and assessed the risk of bias. The quality of the evidence was assessed by GRADE. Network meta-analyses were performed using the Stata v.14.2. Twenty-six articles were selected (NSAIDs = 21 and corticoids = 5). Naproxen 1,000 improved physical function, reduced pain and the number of painful joints compared to placebo. Etoricoxib 90 reduced the number of painful joints compared to placebo. Naproxen 750 reduced the number of swollen joints, except for etoricoxib 90. Naproxen 1,000, etoricoxib 90 and diclofenac 150 were better than placebo regarding patient assessment. Assessment physician showed that NSAIDs were better than placebo. Meta-analyses were not performed for prednisolone and prednisone. Naproxen 1,000 was the most effective drug and celecoxib 200 showed fewer adverse events. However, the low quality of the evidence observed for the outcomes with NSAIDs, the absence of meta-analyses to assess the outcomes with corticoids, as well as the risk of bias observed, indicate that future RCT can confirm such findings.


Mariana Del Grossi Paglia, Marcus Tolentino Silva, Luciane Cruz Lopes, Silvio Barberato-Filho, Lauren Giustti Mazzei, Flavia Casale Abe, Cristiane de Cássia Bergamaschi. Use of corticoids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: Systematic review and network meta-analysis. PloS one. 2021;16(4):e0248866

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PMID: 33826610

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