Limited evidence supported the use of NSAIDs in the treatment of acute gout. One placebo-controlled trial provided evidence of benefit at 24 hours and little or no harm. We downgraded the evidence due to potential selection and reporting biases, and imprecision. While these data were insufficient to draw firm conclusions, they did not conflict with clinical guideline recommendations based upon evidence from observational studies, other inflammatory arthritis and expert consensus, which support the use of NSAIDs in acute -quality evidence suggested that selective COX-2 inhibitors and non-selective NSAIDs are probably equally beneficial although COX-2 inhibitors are likely to be associated with significantly fewer total and gastrointestinal adverse events. We downgraded the evidence due to an unclear risk of selection and reporting biases. Moderate-quality evidence indicated that systemic glucocorticoids and NSAIDs were also equally beneficial in terms of pain relief. There were no withdrawals due to adverse events and total adverse events were similar between groups. We downgraded the evidence due to unclear risk of selection and reporting bias. There was low-quality evidence that there was no difference in function. We downgraded the quality due to unclear risk of selection bias and imprecision.
Formulations of topical diclofenac, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, piroxicam, and indomethacin demonstrated significantly higher rates of clinical success (more participants with at least 50% pain relief) than matching topical placebo (moderate or high quality data ). Benzydamine did not. Three drug and formulation combinations had NNTs for clinical success below 4. For diclofenac, the Emulgel® formulation had the lowest NNT of (95% CI to ) in two studies using at least 50% pain intensity reduction as the outcome . Diclofenac plasters other than Flector® also had a low NNT of ( to ) based on good or excellent responses in some studies. Ketoprofen gel had an NNT of ( to ), from five studies in the 1980s, some with less well defined outcomes. Ibuprofen gel had an NNT of ( to ) from two studies with outcomes of marked improvement or complete remission. All other drug and formulation combinations had NNT values above 4, indicating lesser efficacy .
Two studies compared different types of non-selective NSAIDs, namely ibuprofen versus diclofenac and piroxicam versus indomethacin. The trials did not find any differences between these NSAID types, but both trials had small sample sizes. One trial reported no differences in pain intensity between treatment groups that used selective or non-selective NSAIDs. One other trial compared diflunisal with paracetamol and showed no difference in improvement from baseline on pain intensity score. One trial showed a better global improvement in favour of celecoxib versus tramadol.