Gut 54:1509-1514 doi:10.1136/gut.2005.065003
  • Leading article

COX-2 chronology

  1. C J Hawkey
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor C J Hawkey
    Wolfson Digestive Diseases Centre, University of Nottingham, University Hospital, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, UK;


    The role of selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors in medical practice has become controversial since evidence emerged that their use is associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction. Selective COX-2 inhibitors were seen as successor to non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, in turn successors to aspirin. The importance of pain relief means that such drugs have always attracted attention. The fact that they work through inhibition of cyclooxygenase, are widespread, and have multiple effects also means that adverse effects that were unanticipated (even though predictable) have always emerged. In this paper I therefore present an historical perspective so that the lessons of the past may be applied to the present.