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Rofecoxib, a COX-2 Inhibitor, Lowers C-Reactive Protein and Interleukin-6 Levels in Patients With Acute Coronary Syndromes

      Background

      Patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) have high levels of inflammatory mediators such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin (IL)-6.

      Aim

      To evaluate whether patients with ACS treated with rofecoxib, a COX-2 inhibitor, will have reduced CRP, IL-6, and soluble tumor necrotic factor receptor-1 (sTNF-R1) levels and improved endothelial function.

      Methods and results

      Thirty-four patients hospitalized with ACS were randomized to receive rofecoxib, 25 mg/d plus aspirin 100 mg/d, or placebo plus aspirin, 100 mg/d, for a period of 3 months. Blood samples for CRP, IL-6, and sTNF-R1 levels were drawn prior to randomization, and after 1 month and 3 months. CRP levels in the rofecoxib group (n = 18) were significantly lower both at 1 month and 3 months compared to the baseline levels (p < 0.02). IL-6 levels were significantly lower at 1 month (p < 0.02) in the rofecoxib group, but not at 3 months. There was no change in endothelial function or sTNF-R1 levels.

      Conclusion

      Patients recovering from ACS had lower levels of CRP and IL-6 at 1 month and lower CRP levels at 3 months when treated with rofecoxib plus aspirin. Suppression of inflammatory processes may lead to retardation of coronary atherosclerosis and coronary events.

      Key words

      Abbreviations:

      ACS (acute coronary syndromes), CAD (coronary artery disease), CRP (C-reactive protein), HMG-CoA (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A), IL (interleukin), LDL (low-density lipoprotein), MI (myocardial infarction), NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), sTNF-R1 (soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor-1), TNF (tumor necrosis factor)
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