Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, cyclooxygenase 2, and fever

D. L. Simmons, D. Wagner, K. Westover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are frequently used antipyretic agents that most probably exert their antifever effect by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. Thus, COX-2-selective drugs or null mutation of the COX-2 gene reduce or prevent fever. Acetaminophen is antipyretic and analgesic, as are NSAIDs, but it lacks the anti-inflammatory and anticoagulatory properties of these drugs. This has led to the speculation that a COX variant exists that is inhibitable by acetaminophen. An acetaminophen-inhibitable enzyme is inducible in the mouse J774.2 monocyte cell line. Induction of acetaminophen-inhibitable prostaglandin E2 synthesis parallels induction of COX-2. Thus, inhibition of pharmacologically distinct COX-2 enzyme activity by acetaminophen may be the mechanism of action of this important antipyretic drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S211-S218
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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