Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the competitive inhibitors of cyclooxygenase (COX), the enzyme which mediates the bioconversion of arachidonic acid to inflammatory prostaglandins (PGs). Their use is associated with the side effects such as gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. The therapeutic anti-inflammatory action of NSAIDs is produced by the inhibition of COX-2, while the undesired side effects arise from inhibition of COX-1 activity. Thus, it was though that more selective COX-2 inhibitors would have reduced side effects. Based upon a number of selective COX-2 inhibitors (rofecoxib, celecoxib, valdecoxib etc.) were developed as safer NSAIDs with improved gastric safety profile. However, the recent market removal of some COXIBs such as rofecoxib due to its adverse cardiovascular side effects clearly encourages the researchers to explore and evaluate alternative templates with COX-2 inhibitory activity. Recognition of new avenues for selective COX-2 inhibitors in cancer chemotherapy and neurological diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimer’s diseases still continues to attract investigations on the development of COX-2 inhibitors. This review highlights the various structural classes of selective COX-2 inhibitors with special emphasis on their structure-activity relationships.