Clinical implications of cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors for acute dental pain management: Benefits and risks

Michael Spink, Saul Bahn, Robert Glickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors (COX-2i) demonstrate analgesic efficacy for patients who require gastrointestinal safety. The authors discuss the potential benefits and risks of these novel, but expensive, analgesics when used in dentistry. Methods. The authors conducted a MEDLINE search focused on the subject headings of common analgesic drugs and COX-2 i, using peer-reviewed journals limited to the English language. They selected for review 127 articles that met the criteria. They also tried to identify any randomized controlled trials pertinent to dentistry and indicative of evidence-based medicine. Results. When comparing COX isoforms (COX-1 and COX-2), the authors found that overlapping and mutually exclusively properties coexist. COX-2i originally were developed to minimize interference with the gastroprotective properties of the COX-1 isoform, while selectively preventing prostanoid synthesis expressed solely at sites of bodily trauma or other inflammation. COX-2i were found to provide pain relief equal to or slightly exceeding that offered by many mild narcotics. They may avoid some of the serious side effects that can occur with even short-term use of nonselective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Conclusions. The pharmacodynamics of COX-2i reveal an agent that includes analgesic, anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective properties but also allows for an undesirable disruption of the delicate hemodynamic balance. Clinical Implications. Symptomatic and asymptomatic gastroparietic patients who do not have severe cardiovascular, cerebral or renal ischemic disease benefit from use of COX-2i. Long-term use of these agents in medically compromised patients may prove disastrous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1439-1448
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Analgesics
  • Cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors
  • Dental pain
  • Pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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