Anti-inflammatory

On the Research Frontier—Colorectal Cancer & COX-2 Inhibitors

Studies suggest turmeric compounds could work with anti-inflammatory drugs to help prevent colorectal cancer. Chronic inflammation is closely associated with the transformation of precancerous lesions and polyps to colorectal cancer. 90% of colon carcinomas have high levels of inflammatory COX-2 enzymes, and inhibiting COX-2 activity reduces inflammation. However, chronic use of pharmaceutical COX-2 inhibitors may cause multiple negative side effects: (vi.181299-300)


Table VI.33a: Side Effects of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUG CONDITIONS USED FOR

5-AMINOSALICYLIC ACID

(Mesalamine)

Ulcerative colitis

Proctitis

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS
< 3% OF USERS 3-10% OF USERS 10-20% OF USERS > 20% OF USERS

Acne

Anxiety

Arthritis

Depression (negligible)

Hair loss

Hemorrhage (GI tract)

Heart inflammation (negligible)

Liver damage/failure (negligible)

Vasodilation

Cramps

Dizziness

Edema

Fatigue

Gas

Hepatitis

Muscle weakness

Skin rash

Stuffy nose

Urinary tract infections

Vomiting

Abdominal pain

Diarrhea

General pain

Nausea

Sore throat

Headaches

Table VI.33b: Side Effects of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUG CONDITIONS USED FOR

CELECOXIB

(Celebrex®)

Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

Dysmenorrhea

Schizophrenia

Prevention of colorectal & lung cancer

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS
< 3% OF USERS 3-10% OF USERS 10-20% OF USERS > 20% OF USERS

Anxiety

Depression

Dizziness

Edema

Fatigue

Gas

Hair loss

Hepatitis (negligible)

Hypoglycemia (negligible)

Increased cholesterol levels (negligible)

Jaundice (negligible)

Skin rash

Weight gain

Abdominal pain

Back pain

Fever

Heartburn

Indigestion

Joint pain

Nausea

Sinusitis

Diarrhea

High blood pressure

Infections

Although rare, use of celecoxib can even cause potentially fatal side effects such as: (vi.301)

  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Exfoliative dermatitis
  • Severe drug interactions
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis

Some studies show that combining celecoxib to chemotherapy drugs (such as 5-FU) may actually be particularly dangerous for people with colorectal cancer. In a clinical trial, patients with advanced colorectal cancer were given celecoxib or a placebo with either FOLFIRI or capecitabine. Regardless of which chemotherapy regimen it was combined with, those who took celecoxib had faster tumor growth than those who took placebo. (vi.302)

Turmeric Compounds — Novel Cox-2 Inhibitors

Turmeric compounds that inhibit COX-2 work differently than drugs classified as COX-2 inhibitors. These pharmaceutical drugs bind to COX enzymes and prevent their activity. Conversely, compounds in turmeric (such as curcumin, eugenol, and fisetin) block transcription factors that trigger production of COX-2. Some experts suggest this may explain why natural COX-2 inhibitors don't cause the adverse side effects of drugs such as celecoxib. (vi.7894181274)

Combining turmeric with pharmaceutical drugs could help lower the dosages needed to potently block COX-2. In turn, this could help lower the risk of side effects while achieving the same, or even better, results. (vi.181)

First responders that trigger gene activity. (vi.39)

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