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What Are COX-2 Inhibitors?



Updated June 03, 2014

Definition: COX-2 inhibitors are a class of drugs which selectively inhibit COX-2, an enzyme involved in the inflammation pathway, while sparing COX-1, thereby reducing gastrointestinal toxicity.COX-2 selective inhibitors are the newest of the NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

In April 2005, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced actions which will be taken regarding the marketing of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). The actions include changes for COX-2 inhibitors, as well as prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) NSAIDs.

These actions by the FDA follow scrutiny of NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors provoked by the voluntary withdrawal of Vioxx by Merck in September 2004. After analyzing scientific data, including data collected after the drugs were approved, and a joint meeting of the FDA's Arthritis and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committees held February 16-18, 2005, the FDA made its decision.

COX-2 inhibitor drugs include:

  • Celebrex (Celecoxib)
  • Vioxx (Rofecoxib)(No longer on market as of September 2004)
  • Bextra (Valdecoxib)(No longer on market as of April 2005)

There are also other COX-2 Inhibitors being developed, including:

More Information On NSAIDs And COX-2 Inhibitors

Also Known As: cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, COX-2 selective inhibitors

Common Misspellings: COX2, COX 2 inhbitors, COX-2 inhibtors



Cox-2 Inhibitors, MedicineNet 10/2/2005.

Questions and Answers: FDA Regulatory Actions for the COX-2 Selective and Non-Selective Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). FDA/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. April 7, 2005.

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