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Clin Ther. 2002 Jan;24(1):87-99.

Combination hydrocodone and ibuprofen versus combination oxycodone and acetaminophen in the treatment of moderate or severe acute low back pain.

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Abbott Laboratories, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054, USA.



Introduced in 1997, the combination of hydrocodone and ibuprofen is the only fixed-dose combination analgesic containing an opioid and ibuprofen that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.


This study compared the efficacy and tolerability of combination hydrocodone 7.5 mg and ibuprofen 200 mg (HC/IB) with those of combination oxycodone 5 mg and acetaminophen 325 mg (OX/AC) in the treatment of moderate or severe acute low back pain.


This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, repeat-dose study lasting up to 8 days. The recommended dosing of the study medications was 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours, not to exceed 5 tablets per day. If adequate pain relief was not obtained, patients were permitted to take up to 4 doses per day of supplemental analgesic medication-the nonopioid component of the assigned study medication (ibuprofen 200 mg or acetaminophen 325 mg). Measures of efficacy included mean daily pain relief scores (0 = no relief, 1 = slight relief, 2 = moderate relief, 3 = good relief, and 4 = complete relief), mean daily number of tablets and doses of study medication, mean daily number of tablets and doses of supplemental analgesic medication, global evaluation (poor, fair, good, very good, or excellent), and results on the modified 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). All efficacy measures were analyzed on an intent-to-treat basis. Tolerability was evaluated based on adverse events reported spontaneously or elicited by the in vestigators using nonsuggestive questioning, as well as on the number of patients discontinuing treatment because of adverse events.


The study enrolled 147 patients (75 HC/IB, 72 OX/AC). The most common cause of low back pain was muscular/ligamentous injury (97/147; 66.0%), followed by degenerative disk disease (27/147; 18.4%). At baseline, 80 patients (54.4%) reported experiencing moderate pain, and 67 patients (45.6%) reported experiencing severe pain. There were no significant differences between HC/IB and OX/AC with regard to mean ( +/- SD) daily pain relief scores (2.40 +/- 1.06 vs 2.50 +/- 1.01, respectively), mean daily number of tablets of study medication (1.80 +/- 1.70 vs 2.20 +/- 1.60), mean daily number of doses of study medication (1.80 +/- 1.65 vs 2.10 +/- 1.58), mean daily number of tablets of supplemental analgesic medication (0.60 +/- 1.13 vs 0.50 +/- 0.99), mean daily number of doses of supplemental analgesic medication (0.60 +/- 1.07 vs 0.50 +/- 0.90), global evaluations, or mean scores on the modified SF-36. In addition, there were no significant differences in the proportion of patients experiencing adverse events with HC/IB (47; 62.7%) and OX/AC (45; 62.5%). Adverse events were consistent with those generally associated with the component analgesics and predominantly involved the central nervous system and gastrointestinal system.


The results of this study suggest that HC/IB and OX/AC are similarly effective and tolerable in relieving moderate or severe acute low back pain. Additional controlled longitudinal trials are necessary to evaluate the clinical utility of HC/IB in treating acute low back pain.

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