How is a selective COX-2 inhibitor different from a nonselective COX inhibitor?

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bandmanjoe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anything that is selective operates by targeting a specific point of attack.  This is the case with the selective COX-2 inhibitor.  This drug is a form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, commonly referred to in the pharmaceutical trade as an NSAID.  The selective COX-2 inhibitor directly targets COX-2, which is an enzyme that is responsible in the human body for inflammation and pain.  The blocking of this enzyme reduces inflammation and lessens the pain impulse.  This is different from a nonselective COX inhibitor, in that the nonselective version may target COX, or it may target other enzymes that directly or indirectly are linked with the production of inflammation, pain, and other associated discomforts and ailments.  Some forms of this NSAID heighten risk of heart attack, due to increased ingredient use of materials that promote heart attack, and have been removed from public use.