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J Clin Rheumatol. 2004 Jun;10(3 Suppl):S12-7.

Prostaglandins: modulators of inflammation and cardiovascular risk.

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From the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2-specific drugs such as rofecoxib and celecoxib and the newer agents, etoricoxib and valdecoxib, were developed to provide a safer alternative to traditional nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (tNSAIDs). These drugs have been shown significantly to reduce endoscopically visualized gastrointestinal ulcers, and one of them, rofecoxib, has demonstrated a 50% reduction in clinically important gastrointestinal outcomes compared with a tNSAID. However, COX-derived prostaglandins also have complex interactions with the cardiovascular system. This article briefly reviews our current understanding of the interactions between prostaglandins and cardiovascular physiology, and addresses some of the concerns that recently have been raised regarding coxibs and the risk of cardiovascular events.

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