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Curr Pharm Des. 2003;9(27):2191-5.

Dual COX inhibition and upper gastrointestinal damage.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, University Hospital, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.


Aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs injure the gastrointestinal tract principally as a result of their inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. This is mediated via abrogation of the secretion of mucus and bicarbonate and by reduction in mucosal blood flow. Topical injury and inhibition of platelet thromboxane may also contribute respectively to damage and ulcer bleeding. Recognition of a second cyclooxygenase, COX-2, enabled drugs to be developed that selectively target this enzyme which is expressed in inflamed joints. These have proved to be effective treatments whilst causing little or no acute gastroduodenal injury and reduced ulcers and their complications. Future strategies may capitalise upon the phenomenon of substrate diversion of lipoxygenase products. Balanced cyclooxygenase/lipoxygenase inhibition maybe less harmful than cyclooxygenase inhibition. Also, nitric oxide can subserve many of the protective effects of prostaglandins and NO-donating NSAIDs are under evaluation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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