NSAIDS: Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents

The major effect of NSAIDS is to reduce acute inflammation thus decreasing pain and improving function. These drugs also have mild to moderate analgesic properties independent of their anti-inflammatory effect.

Aspirin is the oldest drug of the non-steroidal class. Other common NSAIDs include Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil); Naproxen (Aleve); and Nabumetone (Relafen).

See What Are NSAIDs?

COX-2 inhibitors are a special category of NSAIDs. These include such drugs as Celecoxib (Celebrex); Rofecoxib (Vioxx)**; and Valdecoxib (Bextra). **Vioxx has been withdrawn by the manufacturer.

These drugs target only the COX-2 enzyme that stimulates the inflammatory response. Because they do not block the actions of the COX-1 enzyme, these medications generally don't cause the kind of stomach upset or bleeding that traditional NSAIDs do. COX-2 inhibitors also don't offer the same kind of protection against heart disease. The new COX-2 inhibitors are frequently prescribed for treatment of arthritis.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a Public Health Advisory Recommending Limited Use of Cox-2 Inhibitors. FDA, December 23, 2004 statement

The FDA advisory is due to recently released data from controlled clinical trials showing that the COX-2 selective agents (Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra) may be associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events (heart attack and stroke) especially when they are used for long periods of time or in very high risk settings (immediately after heart surgery).

More specific information about some of these drugs can be found on websites listed below:


Lynn Salmon <>{

Last updated: October 23, 2015 Google Facebook Pinterest Twitter Reddit