Longer analgesic effect with naproxen sodium than ibuprofen in post-surgical dental pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-dose trial

Background: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended as first-line medications in mild-to-moderate acute pain. However, comparative data regarding the duration of analgesia for commonly-used NSAIDs at non-prescription doses is lacking. This study evaluated the time to rescue medication following a single dose of naproxen sodium (NAPSO) vs ibuprofen (IBU) and placebo in subjects with moderate-to-severe post-surgical dental pain.

Methods: This single-center, randomized, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled study included healthy subjects with moderate-to-severe baseline pain (Categorical Pain Intensity Scale) who also rated their pain ≥ 5 on a 0–10 pain intensity Numerical Rating Scale following extraction of two impacted mandibular third molars. A single oral dose of NAPSO (440 mg), IBU (400 mg), or placebo was administered. The primary efficacy endpoint was the time to first rescue medication, while secondary endpoints included the sum of pain intensity difference (SPID) and total pain relief (TOTPAR) over 24 h. ClinicalTrials.gov trial registration number: NCT03404206 (EudraCT 2017-005049-67).

Results: In the per protocol population (n = 385; mean age = 19 years), the time to rescue medication was significantly (p < .001) longer with NAPSO than IBU and placebo. After treatment, the greatest separation of NAPSO from IBU occurred at 9–14 h and from placebo at 1–6 h. Fewer NAPSO subjects required rescue medication (58/166, 34.9%) compared with IBU (137/165, 83.0%) and placebo (44/54, 81.5%). SPID 0–24 h and TOTPAR 0–24 h were both greater with NAPSO than IBU or placebo.

Conclusions: The duration of pain relief after a single dose of NAPSO was significantly longer than after IBU, and significantly fewer NAPSO-treated subjects required rescue medication over a 24-h period.