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December 26, 2001

COX-2 Inhibitors and Ligaments

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JAMA. 2001;286(24):3071. doi:10.1001/jama.286.24.3071-JQU10011-3-1

Cyclooxygenase 2–specific (COX-2) inhibitors, widely prescribed for arthritis symptoms, may impair ligament healing associated with sprains, report researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Unlike earlier generations of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which have been found to promote ligament healing, the COX-2 inhibitors apparently do not, said Lawrence E. Dahners, MD, professor of orthopedics.

The study in rats involved an experimental model for an acute injury of the medial collateral ligament, in humans the most common site of knee sprains. Postoperatively, half the animals were given the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib for the first 6 days of recovery and half were not treated. About 2 weeks later, the injured and uninjured ligaments were tested for healing strength. Celecoxib decreased ligament healing strength by 32%, the researchers said.

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