Are topical NSAIDs effective in decreasing pain from acute musculoskeletal injuries?

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EVIDENCE-BASED ANSWERYes. Topical NSAIDs are up to 60% more likely to reduce pain from acute musculoskeletal injuries by 50% at day 7 than placebo (SOR: A, meta-analysis of RCTs). Topical salicylates are nearly twice as likely to decrease pain scores by 50% at day 7 compared with placebo, but may have increased systemic and local adverse reactions (SOR: B, meta-analysis of poor quality RCTs).

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