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COX-2 inhibitor n. an anti-inflammatory drug (see NSAID) that selectively blocks the action of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2), which mediates the production of prostaglandin at sites of inflammation, especially in joints; such drugs are less likely than nonselective NSAIDs to cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulceration. COX-2 inhibitors are used in the treatment of arthritis and acute gout. However, because their use is associated with an increased incidence of heart attack and stroke, they should only be taken by patients who are at high risk of peptic ulceration. See also celecoxib.
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