COX-2 Inhibitors

COX-2 selective inhibitors are a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that targets the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme that is responsible for muscle inflammation. As a result, COX-2 inhibitors may be recommended for patients suffering from arthritic pain, joint degeneration, spine pain, and other types of inflammatory conditions. NSAIDs also can be taken along with acetaminophen for further pain relief.

However, COX-2 inhibitors do have a number of potentially serious side effects and this medication is not approved for all patients. COX-2 inhibitors vary in dosage and duration and are typically available in capsule form. This medication is usually recommended to patients who are experiencing severe pain from osteoarthritis.


The most significant risks associated with COX-2 inhibitors are cardiovascular in nature. In addition to transmitting pain and inflammation signals, the COX-2 enzymes (along with COX-1) are involved in the regulation of blood pressure in the body. As a result, COX-2 inhibitors have been known to lead to heart problems and should not be taken by anyone with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or stroke. COX-2 Inhibitors have also been somewhat controversial in recent years after an increased risk of heart attack and stroke was traced to popular COX-2 inhibitors. The Food and Drug Administration has since strengthened its warning labels on all NSAIDs.

Other potential side effects associated with COX-2 inhibitors include:

  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Edema
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluid retention
  • Ulcers
  • And more


To learn more about COX-2 inhibitors and determine whether they may be able to provide you relief from your back and neck pain, contact your doctor or pharmacist. Before any pain medication is prescribed, a full medical review will be required and your doctor will explain the potential benefits and risks of all of your options.