...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!
Cox-2 Side Effects
Side effects range from mild to severe. The most serious of these side effects, which are now known to occur with some frequency, are cardiovascular side effects and Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a serious allergic skin reaction. These side effects depend on the patient and his or her dosage. The cardiovascular side effects include myocardial infarction (heart attack), thrombosis (blood clots) and stroke. These serious cardiovascular conditions, along with the occurrence of Stevens Johnson Syndrome, have lead to close scrutiny of all COX 2 inhibitors and the recall of two of them.
There are a number of notorious COX 2 inhibitors that have garnered a great deal of attention because of their propensity to cause the development of serious side effects in patients being treated with the various drug types.
To understand COX-2 Inhibitors, you first have to understand COX-1 and what its role in the body is. COX-1 and COX-2 Inhibitors work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are fatty-acid derivatives located all over your body that are well known for their inflammation and immune response effects. However, they also have many different roles in the body. A scientific list would read as such: PG’s are involved in as diverse normal processes as ovulation, blood clotting, renal function, wound healing, vasomotor tone, platelet aggregation, differentiation of immune cells, nerve growth, bone metabolism, and initiation of labor.
If you are familiar with the fact that when you are using drugs such as aspirin, your blood thins and you bruise easier, that is a “side effect” of the COX-1 inhibitor. In the above list, that would fall under the blood clotting category. Remember, COX-1 inhibitors work by inhibiting PG’s. Due to the acidity of the stomach, the cells of your stomach are replaced very quickly, within a few days. One of the major roles of PG’s is to keep the lining of the stomach intact, and when your PG system is disrupted by taking COX-1 drugs, stomach irritation, digestive tract problems and even intestinal or stomach bleeding and death could occur.
COX-2 inhibitors were discovered later, as a “healthier, more targeted” way of treating the inflammation – without the side effects. This makes sense as COX-2 is found more commonly in inflammatory and immune cells than COX-1 drugs, which exist throughout the body. While COX-2 is more specific to inflammation, the COX-2 side effects can be worse than COX-1 drugs.