Selective Cox-2 Inhibitors - Balancing risks and benefits

  • Gail Mkele
Keywords: Selective Cox-2 Inhibitors


While selective inhibitors of cyclo-oxygenase 2 were developed to exploit the therapeutic benefits of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs while avoiding their gastro-intestinal side-effects, they have been reported to increase the risk of myocardial infarction and atherothrombotic events in patients taking them on a chronic basis. The withdrawal of the COX-2 inhibitors namely rofecoxib, valdecoxib and lumiracoxib from the world markets as a result of associated serious adverse effects, cast a shadow on the safety of the entire class of COX-2 inhibitors and raised questions on the inherent cardiovascular risk of the entire class in relation to their potential benefits. Below is a brief review of the atherothrombotic events associated with this class of drugs, the clinical trials that brought these events to the fore and the current warnings for those products still available on our markets.

Author Biography

Gail Mkele
BPharm, MSc (Med) Pharm