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The murky waters of the coxibs: a review of the current state of play

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image of Inflammopharmacology

Since their development and licencing no class of drug has received as much attention both in the scientific and lay press as the cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2) inhibitors. These compounds, also known as coxibs, were developed as a safer alternative to traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) due to their reduced propensity to cause gastrointestinal (GI) irritation. However, an unforeseen complication was identified of increased cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. This observation threw into question the true 'safety' of the class and their subsequent role, if any, in patient management. The amount of information and misinformation regarding the coxibs is vast and as this field is in a state of flux much more will be forthcoming. This article will attempt to review the data regarding coxibs and make some recommendations regarding their ongoing use.

Affiliations: 1: Rheumatology Research Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK


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