Toxic effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents in rats

  • M.O Abatan
  • I Lateef
  • V.O Taiwo


The toxicosis of some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, piroxicam,
indomethacin, phenylbutazone, and aspirin, which occasionally are
locally used in Nigeria as rodenticides have been evaluated in rats using
changes in the serum biochemical and haematological parameters as
indices of toxicity. In the study, no clinical symptoms were observed in all
the treatment groups except in the group of animals exposed to
indomethacin which showed decreased feed intake, sluggishness,
diarrhoea and some mortality were also recorded in the group. On the
serum biochemical parameters, indomethacin and piroxicam caused
increases in the level of total bilirubin and decreases blood urea nitrogen.
Aspirin, indomethacin, and phenylbutazone produced increases in serum
aspartate aminotransferase and this increase is significant (P<0.05) with
the group treated with indomethacin compared to the control group.
Indomethacin also caused significant (P<0.05) increase in the level of
serum alanine aminotransferase. None of the treatment groups produced
significant changes in haematological parameters except that
indomethacin produced significant increase (P<0.05) in the total white
blood cell count. Histological studies revealed that indomethacin also
caused mild periportal hepatic necrosis and kupffer cell proliferation.
This study therefore shows that some non steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs may have adverse effects in rats. Indomethacin has the greater toxic effect on rodents and this may suggest why it is marketed in Nigeria as a rodenticide. (Afr. J. Biomed. Res. 9: 219 – 223, September 2006)

Keywords: NSAID, toxicity, histopathology, rat


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