NSAIDS & Cox-2 Inhibitors

This section includes:

Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are used as simple painkillers and to reduce inflammation over a period of time. All NSAIDs work to block or inhibit the body’s typical defense mechanism to injury. Prostaglandins are chemicals produced in large quantities throughout the body during a response to injury. By blocking the body’s release of prostaglandins, these drugs can reduce pain and relieve inflammation.

Prostaglandins (chemical messengers) are produced by cyclooxygenase or COX enzymes (a protein that triggers changes in the body) to participate in the body’s defense against infection. There are two COX enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. Both enzymes produce prostaglandins that promote inflammation, pain, and fever. However, COX-1 enzymes also protect the stomach lining from digestive acids and help to maintain kidney functions. COX-2 is active primarily at the site of inflammation, but it is now known that COX-2 enzymes are important for proper maintenance of the cardiovascular system. NSAIDs impede the production of prostaglandins by the COX enzymes.

COX-2 Inhibitors

COX-2 inhibitors are newly developed NSAIDs that target primarily the COX-2 enzyme. Traditional NSAIDs inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. The reduction of COX-1 enzymes decreases the production of prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining; this allows gastic acids to erode the lining and cause ulcers in users. Continual useage of traditional NSAIDs may cause severe side effects in users; most notably stomach irritation and intestinal bleeding. COX-2 inhibitors leave COX-1 enzymes less inhibited and sparing the patient of typical intestinal irritation. Unfortunately, it is now known that COX-2 enzymes are important for regulation of cardiovascular functioning, and specifically blocking this enzyme can lead to serious health issues.

Arthritis and NSAIDS

Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the joints. A joint is the area where two bones meet and move body parts connected by the bones. Arthritis leads to substantial loss of mobility due to pain and joint destruction. NSAIDs are often prescribed to decrease stiffness and improve mobility for arthritis sufferers. Since arthritis is a chronic condition, it is not unusual for arthritis suffers to take the pain killer drugs over extended time periods.

NSAIDS Side Effects

Like all medications, NSAIDs, carry a risk of side effects. The frequency of the side effects varies between users. The common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. NSAIDs can cause serious side effects including stomach irritation, cardiovascular effects, and Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS).

NSAIDs works by affecting chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. Unfortunately, the same group of chemicals is located in the stomach. NSAID tends to cause indigestion and some cases of ulceration. An ulcer is an inflamed open sore on the skin of the stomach. No one with a history of peptic ulcers (bacteria infection) should be using NSAIDs. Treatments typically consist of antibiotics, but if hemorrhaging or perforation of an ulcer occurred, then emergency medical treatment is required.

Traditional NSAIDs block both COX enzymes equally, which minimizes cardiovascular side effects in users. However, blocking primarily the COX-2 enzymes can lead to damage in the cardiovascular system. Data suggests that COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes each serve as a “check and balance” to one another. If one type of COX enzyme is reduced too much in the body, then the other enzyme will create a dangerous imbalance. This imbalance can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and other cardiovascular side effects in patients.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome can be caused by an allergic reaction to certain COX-2 inhibitors, particularly Bextra and Celebrex. It begins as a rash and can progress into serious skin scarring and potentially death. Over time, the rash spreads to other parts of the body and forms as an elevated skin lesions, with an appearance of a bull’s eye target. SJS spreads throughout the body via the skin or mucus membranes. There is no curative treatment; therefore, treatment is focused on managing the symptoms.

Legal Action

Drug manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety and efficacy of their products before marketing them for public consumption. Failure to do so is considered negligent and grounds for personal injury litigation. The Pensacola personal injury attorneys of Aylstock, Witkin Kreis & Overholtz handle national litigation across the United States for victims injured by defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They have successfully represented and obtained substantial compensation for a number of patients who have been harmed by drugs. Contact AWKO law today at (844) 794-7402 to get more information about your rights as a NSAIDS & Cox-2 Inhibitors injury victim.