Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: an overview
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including both traditional non-selective NSAIDs and the selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors, are widely used for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. NSAIDs are a necessary choice in pain management because of the integrated role of the COX path way in the generation of inflammation and in the biochemical recognition of pain. NSAIDs are the competitive inhibitors of cyclooxygenase (COX), the enzyme which mediates the bioconversion of arachidonic acid to inflammatory prostaglandins (PGs). Their use is associated with the side effects such as gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. They are the most commonly employed first line drugs for all these conditions and many others-like musculoskeletal trauma, minor aches and pains, and dysmenorrhoea. The therapeutic anti-inflammatory action of NSAIDs is produced by the inhibition of COX-2, while the undesired side effects arise from inhibition of COX-1 activity. Thus, it was though those more selective COX-2 inhibitors would have reduced side effects. Based upon a number of selective COX-2 inhibitors (Rofecoxib, Celecoxib etc.) were developed as safer NSAIDs with improved gastric safety profile. Several newer applications like prophylaxis of stroke with aspirin are now common place. Use of these drugs for the prophylaxis of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and colorectal cancer is being evaluated. Unfortunately, they have several toxicities ranging from minor heartburn to severe gastrointestinal haemorrhage and perforation. Therefore, newer NSAIDs have been introduced in recent years to circumvent this problem. In preliminary studies, these have shown better safety, efficacy, and tolerability but the full spectrum of adverse reactions of these drugs is yet to be fully known. This review can be used for further research as well as clinical purpose.
Keywords: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cyclooxygenase inhibitors, prostaglandins, aspirin.
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