Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs of some benefit for the common cold

Clinical question: 
How effective are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the common cold?
Bottom line: 
In a pooled analysis, compared to placebo, NSAIDs did not significantly reduce the total symptom score or duration of colds. However, for outcomes related to the analgesic effects of NSAIDs (headache, ear pain, and muscle and joint pain) NSAIDs produced significant benefits, as well as a borderline benefit for malaise, but throat irritation was not improved. NSAIDs showed mixed results for chills. For respiratory symptoms, cough and nasal discharge scores were not improved, but the sneezing score was significantly improved. There was no evidence of increased frequency of adverse effects in the NSAID treatment groups.
Caveat: 
The overall quality of studies was mixed, largely due to missing information regarding randomisation procedures. Only 2 studies were assessed as being of high quality.
Context: 
The common cold is the most common and widespread illness known to humans. NSAIDs are drugs with analgesic, antipyretic, and in higher doses, anti-inflammatory effects. NSAIDs have been widely used for over a century for the treatment of pain and fever associated with the common cold.
Review CD#: 
CD006362
PEARLS No: 
201
Date: 
October, 2009
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy