New Dosage Formulations for Targeted Delivery of Cyclo-Oxygenase-2 Inhibitors
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NSAIDs are a widely used class of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs that act by inhibiting the cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzyme. However, because of their nonspecificity of action, use of these agents as long-term therapy for chronic pain in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) is often discouraged. Among NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors are promising candidates for long-term therapy of chronic diseases, particularly in the elderly, because of their reduced incidence of gastrointestinal adverse effects. However, in recent times these agents have also been shown to cause adverse effects such as cardiovascular effects (myocardial infarction, stroke and hypertension) and renal effects (decreased renal blood flow/glomerular filtration rate), which in 2004 led to the withdrawal of rofecoxib and in 2005 the withdrawal of valdecoxib from the US market. Importantly, these adverse effects can be effectively reduced by achieving site specific/targeted delivery through new formulation approaches. These formulations not only restrict the drug supply to specific organs but also reduce the dose required. As a result, use of new delivery systems such as nanoparticles, microparticles, microemulsions and nanogels has gained widespread applicability in the management of chronic disease, especially in the elderly, and particularly when there is a need to decrease dose-dependent adverse effects (as is the case with COX-2 inhibitors). This article reviews various new approaches to the delivery of COX-2 inhibitors and highlights issues related to the development of delivery systems for these agents for RA, OA, cancer (familial adenomatous polyposis, prostate, breast and non-small cell lung cancer), ocular diseases (such as diabetic retinopathy) and inflammatory diseases of the skin, with emphasis on their potential for use in the elderly. Emphasis is also placed on the preparation of these particulate systems, their release profile and behaviour in biological systems.
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