SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In 2012 the relative effectiveness of non-prescription painkillers for acute pain was reviewed by the Pain Research Unit based in Oxford UK. The conclusion was that a combination of one 500mg paracetamol tablet, one 200mg ibuprofen tablet and a cup of coffee strong enough to contain 100mg of caffeine is the most effective analgesic with up to 75% of people getting a good level of pain relief. This compares with only 35-40% of those who take two aspirin tablets, 45% taking two paracetamol tablets (1000mg), and up to 55% taking two ibuprofen tablets (400mg). The evidence suggests that caffeine at this strength is acting as an adjuvant in that it enhances the potency of a drug though, on its own, it has minimal effect. Possibly it aids the absorption of the drugs.
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