Affiliation: Department of Pharmaceutics, Sree Vidyanikethan College of Pharmacy, Andhra Pradesh 517102, India.
For ages aspirin has established its value as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory drug, but in 1938, it was found to be a causative factor of gastric inflammation (ulcer). Later discovered non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were found effective as aspirin but failed to overcome the goal of safer aspirin. As the method of prostaglandin inhibition through COX is a common mechanism to both the wanted and unwanted effects of aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs, the COX enzyme becomes a target for drug designers for the development of the “safe aspirin”. In the late 1990s, a new class of drug molecules collectively known as selective inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-2(Coxibs) was developed for the treatment of pain and inflammation. Coxibs developed were as efficacious as the common NSAIDs, but they are devoid of major side effect, the gastrointestinal bleeding. This review presents an overview on all the discovered COX-2 inhibitors, their physiological role, side effects and reasons of their withdrawal.