Objectives: The aim of this study was to reanalyze and reinterpret data obtained in Paracetamol in Acute Low Back Pain (PACE), the first large randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of paracetamol in acute low back pain, to assess the inferential reproducibility of the original conclusions. Study Design and Setting: Mixed effects models were used to reanalyze pain intensity (primary outcome; 11-point Numeric Rating Scale) and physical functioning, health-related quality of life, sleep quality, and time until recovery (as secondary outcomes), according to the intention-to-treat principle. The original authors of the PACE study were not involved in the development of the methods for this reanalysis. Results: The reproduction analyses indicated no effect of treatment on pain intensity and confidence intervals excluded clinically worthwhile effects (adjusted main effect for regular paracetamol vs. placebo 0.00 [−0.02, 0.01; P = 0.85]; adjusted main effect for paracetamol as-needed vs. placebo 0.00 [−0.02, 0.01; P = 0.92]). Similar results were obtained for all secondary outcomes. Conclusion: This study indicates that the conclusions of the PACE trial are inferentially reproducible, even when using a different analytical approach. This reinforces the notion that the management of acute low back pain should focus on providing patients advice and reassurance without the addition of paracetamol.

General practice, Inferential reproduction, Low back pain, Paracetamol, Reanalysis
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.01.010, hdl.handle.net/1765/124960
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Schreijenberg, M, Chiarotto, A, Mauff, K.A.L. (Katya A.L.), Lin, C.-W.C. (Chung-Wei Christine), Maher, C, & Koes, B.W. (2020). Inferential reproduction analysis demonstrated that “paracetamol for acute low back pain” trial conclusions were reproducible. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 121, 45–54. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.01.010