The Therapeutic and Toxic Effects of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Which Interfere with Arachidonic Acid Metabolism

  • G. A. Higgs
  • B. J. R. Whittle


Inflammation is a complex process which presents several targets for drug action and a large number of chemically unrelated drugs have been used in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. There are, however, signs and symptoms which are common to inflammatory responses induced by different trauma. Furthermore, it is evident that many anti-inflammatory drugs share the same therapeutic and toxic effects. Vane (1971) has suggested that the anti-inflammatory effects and the gastrointestinal irritancy of aspirin-like drugs is due to the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. Evidence is now accumulating which links the inhibition of arachidonic acid metabolism to the mechanism of action of the two major groups of anti-inflammatory drugs, the corticosteroids and the non-steroid aspirin-like drugs. In this paper these theories will be reviewed and their implications for future drug development will be discussed.


Arachidonic Acid Gastric Mucosa Arachidonic Acid Metabolism Inflammatory Exudate Lipoxygenase Product 
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Copyright information

© The contributors 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Higgs
    • 1
  • B. J. R. Whittle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Prostaglandin ResearchWellcome Research LaboratoriesBeckenhamEngland

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