Celebrex (Celecoxib) Arthritis Medication

Learn about dosage, overdose and side effects

 Celebrex (celecoxib) is the only COX-2 selective NSAID currently on the market in the United States. COX-2 selective NSAIDs are considered less likely to cause stomach problems than traditional NSAIDs, which are popular medications used to treat arthritis. However, all NSAIDs have a risk of high blood pressure, kidney problems, fluid retention, and heart risks.

Celebrex was approved on December 31, 1998, by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and adult rheumatoid arthritis. Celebrex is marketed by Pfizer.

Bottles of Celebrex pills.
Tim Boyle / Getty Images

What Is the Availability of Celebrex?

Celebrex is not available as an over-the-counter drug. It is only available with a prescription. Celebrex comes in two strengths – 100 mg and 200 mg. The usual recommended daily dose for osteoarthritis is 200 mg, taken as a single dose or in 100 mg doses twice a day. Your doctor will decide the appropriate dose for you and your condition.

When Is Celebrex Prescribed?

Celebrex is prescribed to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. It is also used to manage acute pain in adults (such as following dental or surgical procedures), and to reduce the number of colon and rectum growths in patients with FAP (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis).

Are There Any Special Instructions Regarding How to Take Celebrex?

Celebrex should be taken exactly as prescribed. Taking Celebrex with a full glass of water or with food may prevent stomach upset.

Are There Patients Who Should Not Take Celebrex?

Patients who have an allergic reaction to sulfa should not take Celebrex. Also, aspirin-sensitive patients should not take Celebrex. Aspirin-sensitive patients are those who have experienced hives, asthma, or allergic-type reactions after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs.

The FDA issued a warning on April 7, 2005, regarding cardiovascular risks (such as heart attack and stroke) associated with Celebrex and other NSAIDs. The FDA advised doctors to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks of Celebrex and other treatment options before a decision is made to use Celebrex.

The FDA and the manufacturer of Celebrex agree that based on current information, Celebrex should still be marketed. However, patients at high risk for heart attack or stroke should consider the warnings and possible alternatives for treatment.

What Common Side Effects Occur With Celebrex?

Some of the common side effects that may be associated with Celebrex include:

  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Sinus inflammation
  • Stomach pain or nausea

What Other Special Warnings and Precautions Apply to Celebrex Use?

There are certain serious risks associated with Celebrex and other NSAIDs. Celebrex or other NSAIDs can cause bleeding stomach ulcers. Call your doctor if you notice black bowel movements, bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, or burning stomach pain.

Celebrex and other NSAIDs can cause liver damage. Warnings signs of liver damage include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, itching, yellow skin or eyes, dark urine, flu-like symptoms. Call your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Kidney problems can occur with Celebrex or NSAID use, either sudden kidney failure or worsening of an existing kidney problem.

Fluid retention can occur with Celebrex or NSAID use. It may be serious if you have high blood pressure or heart failure.

Are There Drug Interactions Associated With Celebrex?

It's important to tell your doctor about all other medications you take. Other medications may affect how Celebrex works and Celebrex may affect how the other medications work. Drugs which can interact with Celebrex include:

  • ACE inhibitors (blood pressure medications)
  • Furosemide
  • Fluconazole or ketoconazole
  • Lithium
  • Phenytoin
  • Warfarin
  • Aspirin

Are There Special Instructions for Pregnant or Nursing Women?

Women who are pregnant, and especially those in their last 3 months, should not take Celebrex. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

What Are the Signs of an Overdose of Celebrex?

As with any medication, serious consequences may result from an overdose of Celebrex. The following symptoms may occur with Celebrex overdose: difficulty breathing, feelings of being drowsy or sluggish, coma, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, kidney failure. Use Celebrex only as directed to avoid an overdose.

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Article Sources
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