Cox 2 Inhibitors

Written by Courtney Salinas
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COX-2 inhibitors are medicines that help ease inflammation without the negative gastrointestinal effects that some anti-inflammation drugs can have. Aspirin and other anti-inflammation medicines like it are known to cause stomach irritation while reducing inflammation, leaving some users wondering whether it's better to deal with the inflammation or the stomach irritation.

COX-2 inhibitors block Cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that generates pain and inflammation. Blocking Cyclooxygenase, the COX in COX-2, reduces pain and inflammation in arthritis sufferers. Medicines like Celebrex, Vioxx and Bextra are all COX-2 inhibitors and have been or are prescribed to help relieve the effects of arthritis.

Controversy Over COX-2 Inhibitors

Recently Merck, a pharmaceutical company, recalled its COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx because studies suggested that it might increase the chances of heart attack or stroke in Vioxx users. Studies suggest that COX-2 inhibitors also suppress prostacyclin, which is produced by the body to reduce blood clots and dilate blood vessels. By inhibiting prostacyclin, Vioxx could have been causing heart attacks in arthritis sufferers.

The controversy around COX-2 inhibitors is still intense, with one side stating that COX-2 inhibitors are safer than Aspirin and the like because they don't cause gastrointestinal problems. The other side says that COX-2 inhibitors are more dangerous because they can combat the body's natural defenses against dangerous blood clots. In the wake of the Vioxx recall, arthritis sufferers are searching for alternate means of pain and inflammation relief. Some have switched to other COX-2 inhibitors and others are trying behavioral changes, like diet and exercise, to ease their pain.


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