A classification of NSAIDs according to the relative inhibition of cyclooxygenase isoenzymes

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1997 Jan;18(1):30-4. doi: 10.1016/s0165-6147(96)01017-6.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are, as a group, the most frequently consumed drugs worldwide. They also cause the most, and often dangerous, side-effects reported to the US Food and Drug Administration, the majority of which are owing to damage of the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. This explains the continuous interest of pharmacologists, clinical pharmacologists and pharmacoepidemiologists in this group of drugs. Based on an increasing body of data, J. Frölich proposes a simple alternative to the usual chemical classification of NSAIDs, allowing one to predict a drug's major effects according to its relative inhibition of the constitutive and inducible cyclooxygenase isoenzymes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / classification*
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / classification*
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Digestive System / drug effects
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / biosynthesis
  • Isoenzymes / drug effects
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / biosynthesis
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / drug effects
  • Prostaglandins / biosynthesis
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Prostaglandins
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS1 protein, human
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases