Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which comes in two isoforms — COX-1 and COX-2. COX is the enzyme required for the synthesis of prostaglandins (PGs). COX-1 synthesizes homeostatic PGs, including those involved in the maintenance of the mucus layer of the stomach, blood clotting, maintaining renal blood flow, labour induction, etc. COX-2 synthesizes pro-inflammatory PGs and is believed to be involved in certain cancers, hence explaining why many NSAIDs are known to prevent certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer.

Examples include:

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