Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2001 Jan;2(1):31-40.

COX-2 inhibitors vs. NSAIDs in gastrointestinal damage and prevention.

Author information

  • 1Digestive Diseases Research Centre, Department of Adult and Paediatric Gastroenterology, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, 2 Newark Street, London E1 2AT, UK. A.B.Ballinger@mds.qmw.ac.uk


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit production of protective gastric mucosal prostaglandins and also have a direct topical irritant effect. In some patients this results in dyspepsia and development of gastroduodenal erosions and ulceration. The risk of ulcer complications, such as bleeding, perforation and death is increased approximately 4-fold in NSAID users. Patients at high risk of ulcer complications include the elderly, those taking anticoagulants, steroids and aspirin, those with a previous history of peptic ulceration and patients with concomitant serious medical problems. The interaction of NSAIDs with Helicobacter pylori (the major cause of peptic ulceration in non-NSAID users) is controversial and some studies suggest that H. pylori infection may even protect against NSAID-induced ulceration. Selective inhibitors of the inducible cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme spare COX-1 in the gastric mucosa and, hence, do not inhibit production of mucosal prostaglandins. COX-2-selective inhibitors are associated with a significant reduction in gastroduodenal damage compared with traditional NSAIDs. Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) are probably the best agents for healing and prevention of NSAID-induced ulcers. Preliminary studies suggest that COX-2 selective inhibitors, like traditional NSAIDs, may prevent lower gastrointestinal cancer. Further studies are needed but they may be useful in individuals at high risk of certain types of lower gastrointestinal malignancy with increased gastrointestinal tolerability and safety.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Informa Healthcare
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk