2001 - 11

Drug Saf. 2001;24(11):801-11.

Nitric oxide-releasing NSAIDs: a review of their current status.

Fiorucci S, Antonelli E, Burgaud JL, Morelli A. Clinica di Gastroenterologia ed Epatologia Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica, e Sperimentale, Universita' degli Studi di Perugia, Italy.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most widely prescribed drugs worldwide owing to their anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic properties. However, their use is hampered by gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity, the most common drug-related serious adverse event in industrialised nations. Nitric oxide (NO)-releasing NSAIDs, a recently described class of drugs, are generated by adding a nitroxybutyl or a nitrosothiol moiety to the parent NSAID via a short-chain ester linkage. While efficacy of nitrosothiol-NO-NSAIDs still awaits investigation, nitroxybutyl-NO-NSAIDs have been extensively studied in animals, thus the abbreviation NO-NSAIDs used here refers to the latter group of NSAID derivatives. NO-NSAIDs retain the anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity of original NSAIDs, although they exhibit markedly reduced gastrointestinal toxicity. NO-NSAIDs are nonselective cyclo-oxygenase (COX) inhibitors, and they also exert COX-independent activities that are NO-dependent. Indeed, NO-NSAIDs suppress production of the cytokines interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-18 and interferon-gamma by causing the S-nitrosilation/inhibition of caspase-1. In acute and chronic animal models of inflammation, it has been demonstrated that NO-NSAIDs abrogated prostaglandin E2 as well as thromboxane B2 generation. In a murine model, NO-naproxen was approximately 10-fold more potent than naproxen in reducing animal writhing after intraperitoneal injection of acetic acid. Similar data have been obtained in chronic models of pain such as rat adjuvant arthritis. In vivo and in vitro studies suggest that NO-aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) exerts more potent antithrombotic action than aspirin, probably by coupling the ability to inhibit COX-1 with the anti-adhesive effect of NO. Moreover, in a model of renal injury NO-flurbiprofen not only has been demonstrated to be devoid of nephrotoxicity but also to ameliorate renal function. Finally, in an animal model of chronic neurodegenerative disease, NO-flurbiprofen and NO-aspirin attenuated the brain inflammatory response. The GI toxicity of NO-flurbiprofen and NO-naproxen is currently being investigated in healthy individuals.