Selective COX-2 inhibitors gather speed
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Selective inhibitors of cyclo-oxygenase type 2 (COX-2) continue to tantalise rheumatologists with the promise of delivering the same anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects as those of conventional NSAIDs, without the adverse gastrointestinal (GI) effects commonly seen with these drugs. The results of clinical trials of two COX-2 inhibitors, Searle’s celecoxib and Merck’s MK 966, were presented at the recent National Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology [ Washington DC, US; November 1997 ]. These results add to the growing body of evidence supporting the efficacy of COX-2 inhibitors in reducing pain and inflammation to a similar degree as conventional NSAIDs. However, an improved long-term tolerability profile remains to be demonstrated over the traditional NSAIDs.