The objective was to review the literature on the effects of selective and non-selective non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on the treatment of periodontal diseases. A search of MEDLINE was conducted and articles published in English until December 2003 were included. The results from in vitro and animal experiments as well as from human clinical trials are presented. Non-selective cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) inhibitors used in periodontal research include compounds such as aspirin, flurbiprofen, ibuprofen, naproxen and piroxicam. Selective cyclooxygenase- 2 (COX-2) inhibitors represent a new group of pharmaceutical products termed “coxibs” that include meloxicam, nimesulide, etodolac and celecoxib. Evidence from animal experiments and clinical trials documents that selective and non-selective NSAIDs are mainly responsible for the stabilization of periodontal conditions by reducing the rate of alveolar bone resorption. This is achieved through local inhibition of both enzymes (e.g. COX-1 and COX-2) responsible for the synthesis of arachidonic acid metabolites. Evidence shows that the effects of NSAIDs drop off rapidly after drugwithdrawal. One of the major advantages of selective COX-2 inhibition is the reduction of adverse systemic effects. Although some studies present promising results, no data from long-term, multicenter prospective clinical trials are yet available for determining whether these therapeutic effects can be retained on a long-term basis. Many of these compounds, such as flurbiprofen, are readily absorbed through the gingival tissues. Therefore, the development of topical NSAIDs formulations (e.g. gels, toothpastes, rinses) with a daily application seems to be of particular interest. This may help to further reduce adverse systemic effects of non-selective NSAIDs in the long-term host modulation of periodontitis-susceptible patients.
Keywords: bacterial biofilms, inflammatory reaction, periodontal ligament, antibiotics, polymorphonuclear granulocytes, tumor necrosis factor (tnf), arachidonic acid (aa) pathway, cyclooxygenase
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