Anti-inflammatory drugs and their mechanism of action

Inflamm Res. 1998 Oct;47 Suppl 2:S78-87. doi: 10.1007/s000110050284.

Abstract

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) produce their therapeutic activities through inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX), the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (PGs). They share, to a greater or lesser degree, the same side effects, including gastric and renal toxicity. Recent research has shown that there are at least two COX isoenzymes. COX-1 is constitutive and makes PGs that protect the stomach and kidney from damage. COX-2 is induced by inflammatory stimuli, such as cytokines, and produces PGs that contribute to the pain and swelling of inflammation. Thus, selective COX-2 inhibitors should be anti-inflammatory without side effects on the kidney and stomach. Of course, selective COX-2 inhibitors may have other side effects and perhaps other therapeutic potential. For instance, COX-2 (and not COX-1) is thought to be involved in ovulation and in labor. In addition, the well-known protective action of aspirin on colon cancer may be through an action on COX-2, which is expressed in this disease. Moreover, NSAIDs delay the progress of Alzheimer's disease. Thus, selective COX-2 inhibitors may demonstrate new important therapeutic benefits as anticancer agents, as well as in preventing premature labor and perhaps even retarding the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / physiology
  • Prostaglandins
  • Salicylates

Substances

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