Are opioids more effective on pain and function in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee in comparison to a placebo?

From: The Cochrane Collaboration

Journal rating:
rating: 98%
Study Quality:
rating: 100%

Overall Reliability

Article Quality:
rating: 75%
rating: 50%


  • Ten trials with 2,268 participants included.


  • The paper is a systematic review / meta analysis of all relevant trials.
  • This means that the data from all similar trials has been grouped to form an overall outcome.


  • 35% of people who use opioids experience a reduction in pain
  • 31% of people who use placebo experience a reduction in pain
  • 29% of people who use opioids experience an improvement in physical function
  • 26% of people who use placebo experience an improvement in physical function.
  • 23% of people who used opioids experienced side effects
  • 15% of people who used a placebo experienced side effects 


  • Yes (without confidence); albeit the authors have not recommended routine use of non-tramadol opioids due to their adverse effects.


Editors Notes

  • Opioids are powerful pain-relieving substances that are used for the pain of cancer or osteoarthritis.