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      Selective COX-2 Inhibitors and Risk of Myocardial Infarction

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          Abstract

          Selective inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2, ‘coxibs’) are highly effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs that exert their action by preventing the formation of prostanoids. Recently some coxibs, which were designed to exploit the advantageous effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs while evading their side effects, have been reported to increase the risk of myo cardial infarction and atherothrombotic events. This has led to the withdrawal of rofecoxib from global markets, and warnings have been issued by drug authorities about similar events during the use of celecoxib or valdecoxib/parecoxib, bringing about questions of an inherent atherothrombotic risk of all coxibs and consequences that should be drawn by health care professionals. These questions need to be addressed in light of the known effects of selective inhibition of COX-2 on the cardiovascular system. Although COX-2, in contrast to the cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) isoform, is regarded as an inducible enzyme that only has a role in pathophysiological processes like pain and inflammation, experimental and clinical studies have shown that COX-2 is constitutively expressed in tissues like the kidney or vascular endothelium, where it executes important physiological functions. COX-2-dependent formation of prostanoids not only results in the mediation of pain or inflammatory signals but also in the maintenance of vascular integrity. Especially prostacyclin (PGI<sub>2</sub>), which exerts vasodilatory and antiplatelet properties, is formed to a significant extent by COX-2, and its levels are reduced to less than half of normal when COX-2 is inhibited. This review outlines the rationale for the development of selective COX-2 inhibitors and the pathophysiological consequences of selective inhibition of COX-2 with special regard to vasoactive prostaglandins. It describes coxibs that are current ly available, evaluates the current knowledge on the risk of atherothrombotic events associated with their intake and critically discusses the consequences that should be drawn from these insights.

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          Most cited references 70

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          Comparison of upper gastrointestinal toxicity of rofecoxib and naproxen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. VIGOR Study Group.

          Each year, clinical upper gastrointestinal events occur in 2 to 4 percent of patients who are taking nonselective nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). We assessed whether rofecoxib, a selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2, would be associated with a lower incidence of clinically important upper gastrointestinal events than is the nonselective NSAID naproxen among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. We randomly assigned 8076 patients who were at least 50 years of age (or at least 40 years of age and receiving long-term glucocorticoid therapy) and who had rheumatoid arthritis to receive either 50 mg of rofecoxib daily or 500 mg of naproxen twice daily. The primary end point was confirmed clinical upper gastrointestinal events (gastroduodenal perforation or obstruction, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and symptomatic gastroduodenal ulcers). Rofecoxib and naproxen had similar efficacy against rheumatoid arthritis. During a median follow-up of 9.0 months, 2.1 confirmed gastrointestinal events per 100 patient-years occurred with rofecoxib, as compared with 4.5 per 100 patient-years with naproxen (relative risk, 0.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.3 to 0.6; P<0.001). The respective rates of complicated confirmed events (perforation, obstruction, and severe upper gastrointestinal bleeding) were 0.6 per 100 patient-years and 1.4 per 100 patient-years (relative risk, 0.4; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.2 to 0.8; P=0.005). The incidence of myocardial infarction was lower among patients in the naproxen group than among those in the rofecoxib group (0.1 percent vs. 0.4 percent; relative risk, 0.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.1 to 0.7); the overall mortality rate and the rate of death from cardiovascular causes were similar in the two groups. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, treatment with rofecoxib, a selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2, is associated with significantly fewer clinically important upper gastrointestinal events than treatment with naproxen, a nonselective inhibitor.
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            Cardiovascular events associated with rofecoxib in a colorectal adenoma chemoprevention trial.

            Selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) may be associated with an increased risk of thrombotic events, but only limited long-term data have been available for analysis. We report on the cardiovascular outcomes associated with the use of the selective COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib in a long-term, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial designed to determine the effect of three years of treatment with rofecoxib on the risk of recurrent neoplastic polyps of the large bowel in patients with a history of colorectal adenomas. A total of 2586 patients with a history of colorectal adenomas underwent randomization: 1287 were assigned to receive 25 mg of rofecoxib daily, and 1299 to receive placebo. All investigator-reported serious adverse events that represented potential thrombotic cardiovascular events were adjudicated in a blinded fashion by an external committee. A total of 46 patients in the rofecoxib group had a confirmed thrombotic event during 3059 patient-years of follow-up (1.50 events per 100 patient-years), as compared with 26 patients in the placebo group during 3327 patient-years of follow-up (0.78 event per 100 patient-years); the corresponding relative risk was 1.92 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.19 to 3.11; P=0.008). The increased relative risk became apparent after 18 months of treatment; during the first 18 months, the event rates were similar in the two groups. The results primarily reflect a greater number of myocardial infarctions and ischemic cerebrovascular events in the rofecoxib group. There was earlier separation (at approximately five months) between groups in the incidence of nonadjudicated investigator-reported congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, or cardiac failure (hazard ratio for the comparison of the rofecoxib group with the placebo group, 4.61; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.50 to 18.83). Overall and cardiovascular mortality was similar in the two groups. Among patients with a history of colorectal adenomas, the use of rofecoxib was associated with an increased cardiovascular risk. Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              Cardiovascular risk associated with celecoxib in a clinical trial for colorectal adenoma prevention.

              Selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors have come under scrutiny because of reports suggesting an increased cardiovascular risk associated with their use. Experimental research suggesting that these drugs may contribute to a prothrombotic state provides support for this concern. We reviewed all potentially serious cardiovascular events among 2035 patients with a history of colorectal neoplasia who were enrolled in a trial comparing two doses of celecoxib (200 mg or 400 mg twice daily) with placebo for the prevention of colorectal adenomas. All deaths were categorized as cardiovascular or noncardiovascular, and nonfatal cardiovascular events were categorized in a blinded fashion according to a prespecified scheme. For all patients except those who died, 2.8 to 3.1 years of follow-up data were available. A composite cardiovascular end point of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, stroke, or heart failure was reached in 7 of 679 patients in the placebo group (1.0 percent), as compared with 16 of 685 patients receiving 200 mg of celecoxib twice daily (2.3 percent; hazard ratio, 2.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.9 to 5.5) and with 23 of 671 patients receiving 400 mg of celecoxib twice daily (3.4 percent; hazard ratio, 3.4; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 7.8). Similar trends were observed for other composite end points. On the basis of these observations, the data and safety monitoring board recommended early discontinuation of the study drug. Celecoxib use was associated with a dose-related increase in the composite end point of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, stroke, or heart failure. In light of recent reports of cardiovascular harm associated with treatment with other agents in this class, these data provide further evidence that the use of COX-2 inhibitors may increase the risk of serious cardiovascular events. Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                JVR
                J Vasc Res
                10.1159/issn.1018-1172
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                1018-1172
                1423-0135
                2005
                August 2005
                29 July 2005
                : 42
                : 4
                : 312-324
                Affiliations
                Institutes of aCardiology and bPhysiology, Medical Polyclinic, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany
                Article
                86459 J Vasc Res 2005;42:312–324
                10.1159/000086459
                15976506
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, References: 96, Pages: 13
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