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MODE OF ACTION OF NON-STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) exert their major therapeutic and adverse effects by inhibition of prostanoid synthesis. Also the interactions with antihypertensive drugs and lithium are caused by this mechanism of action. Cyclooxygenation is a key enzymatic step in the synthesis of prostanoids. 1990 2 isoforms of the enzyme cyclooxygenase have been identified: Prostanoids synthesized by the constitutive cyclooxygenase (COX-1) are involved in physiological homeostasis. In contrast, the inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2) produces large amounts of prostanoids, mainly contributing to the pathophysiological process of inflammation. COX-2 SELECTIVE NSAID: The discovery of the cyclooxgenase-isoenzymes ushered in a new generation of NSAID: A drug with selectivity for COX-2 would inhibit proinflammatory prostanoid synthesis while sparing physiologic prostanoid synthesis. Thus, a selective COX-2 inhibitor should be anti-inflammatory with less or no gastrointestinal or other NSAID-typical adverse effects. The experiences with currently used NSAID, which show an increasing incidence of side effects as COX-1 inhibition increases, and studies with the COX-2 selective NSAID salsalate and meloxicam, which have less adverse effects than nonselective COX inhibitors in equivalent antiphlogistic dosage, prove the concept of selective COX-2 inhibition to avoid the NSAID typical side effects. Newly developed drugs with a very high selectivity for COX-2 are now tested in clinical trials. So far the results suggest, that selective and highly selective COX-2 inhibitors have significantly fewer gastrointestinal and renal adverse effects and do not inhibit platelet aggregation.


D O Stichtenoth, H Zeidler, J C Frölich. New non-steroidal anti-rheumatic drugs: selective inhibitors of inducible cyclooxygenase]. Medizinische Klinik (Munich, Germany : 1983). 1998 Jul 15;93(7):407-15

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PMID: 9711054

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