A drug with the generic name of celecoxib and the brand name of Celebrex is included in the category of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as the COX-2 inhibitors.
After going through hundreds of medical records available electronically, the scientists of the current study found an association between celecoxib and an increased risk of having aortic stenosis.
Aortic stenosis refers to a problem causing narrowing of aortic valves in the heart. This causes the blood flow to restrict, leading to calcification and scarring, during aging.
With the help of the laboratory, the researchers also found that using celecoxib to treat the aortic cell valves led to increased calcification of cells.
However, the researchers have noticed that the previous study had an increased focus on thrombotic events which were short-term. Furthermore, they also did not take a look at the outcomes related to the valvular diseases developing slowly. This study focused on the long-term effects and diseases in particular.
The Association between Aortic Stenosis and Aging
Aortic stenosis refers to the stiffening of the valve present between the left heart ventricle and the aorta. The stiffening causes obstruction in the blood flowing into the aorta from the heart.
Some people suffer from aortic stenosis because of a birth defect, the most common cause being the buildup of calcium deposits and the scarring secondary to aging.
In this particular research, the authors found that one out of 4 people over 65 years of age in the U.S. suffer from aortic stenosis secondary to calcium buildup.
Aortic stenosis is progressive and the only treatment it has is valve replacement, particularly because no effective drugs are present to deal with it. This lack of drugs forced the researchers to check if celecoxib could be a treatment for aortic stenosis.
Celecoxib Causes Calcification
The scientists chose celecoxib because previous research has suggested its role against cadherin-11, a protein that gets activated in calcific aortic disease. These studies have indicated how celecoxib can bind to this protein.
But when the scientists tested the effects of this drug on the valve cells, they found something opposite. The drug was actually increasing the calcification and tissue stiffening markers.
Treatment with celecoxib was found to lead to the hallmarks of activation of myofibroblasts in addition to the in vitro formation of calcific nodules.
After establishing the laboratory results, the investigators then set for getting the clinical evidence. They went through 8,600 electronic medical records followed for a long time. This was to find links between the valvular heart disease diagnosis and the use of ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib.
The analysis reveals that using celecoxib increased the chances of experiencing aortic stenosis by more than 20 percent. It also found no association between the disease with drugs like naproxen or ibuprofen.
The authors concluded that celecoxib use is strongly associated with the development of a calcific variety of aortic valve disease.