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Mechanism of Action of NSAIDs

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    • #165
      Steve USA

        The main mechanism of action of NSAIDs is the inhibition of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). Cyclooxygenase is required to convert arachidonic acid into thromboxanes, prostaglandins, and prostacyclins.

        The therapeutic effects of NSAIDs are attributed to the lack of these eicosanoids. Specifically, thromboxanes play a role in platelet adhesion, prostaglandins cause vasodilation, increase the temperature set-point in the hypothalamus, and play a role in anti-nociception.

        There are two cyclooxygenase isoenzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 gets constitutively expressed in the body, and it plays a role in maintaining gastrointestinal mucosa lining, kidney function, and platelet aggregation. COX-2 is not constitutively expressed in the body; and instead, it inducibly expresses during an inflammatory response. Most of the NSAIDs are nonselective and inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2.

        However, COX-2 selective NSAIDs (ex. celecoxib) only target COX-2 and therefore have a different side effect profile. Importantly, because COX-1 is the prime mediator for ensuring gastric mucosal integrity and COX-2 is mainly involved in inflammation, COX-2 selective NSAIDs should provide anti-inflammatory relief without compromising the gastric mucosa.

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