Efficacy and acceptability of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for non-specific chronic low back pain: a protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis.
Thompson T., Dias S., Poulter D., Weldon S., Marsh L., Rossato C., Shin JI., Firth J., Veronese N., Dragioti E., Stubbs B., Solmi M., Maher CG., Cipriani A., Ioannidis JPA.
BACKGROUND: Despite the enormous financial and humanistic burden of chronic low back pain (CLBP), there is little consensus on what constitutes the best treatment options from a multitude of competing interventions. The objective of this network meta-analysis (NMA) is to determine the relative efficacy and acceptability of primary care treatments for non-specific CLBP, with the overarching aim of providing a comprehensive evidence base for informing treatment decisions. METHODS: We will perform a systematic search to identify randomised controlled trials of interventions endorsed in primary care guidelines for the treatment of non-specific CLBP in adults. Information sources searched will include major bibliographic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, CINAHL, PsycINFO and LILACS) and clinical trial registries. Our primary outcomes will be patient-reported pain ratings and treatment acceptability (all-cause discontinuation), and secondary outcomes will be functional ability, quality of life and patient/physician ratings of overall improvement. A hierarchical Bayesian class-based NMA will be performed to determine the relative effects of different classes of pharmacological (NSAIDs, opioids, paracetamol, anti-depressants, muscle relaxants) and non-pharmacological (exercise, patient education, manual therapies, psychological therapy, multidisciplinary approaches, massage, acupuncture, mindfulness) interventions and individual treatments within a class (e.g. NSAIDs: diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen). We will conduct risk of bias assessments and threshold analysis to assess the robustness of the findings to potential bias. We will compute the effect of different interventions relative to placebo/no treatment for both short- and long-term efficacy and acceptability. DISCUSSION: While many factors are important in selecting an appropriate intervention for an individual patient, evidence for the analgesic effects and acceptability of a treatment are key factors in guiding this selection. Thus, this NMA will provide an important source of evidence to inform treatment decisions and future clinical guidelines. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO registry number: CRD42019138115.