Celebrex is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat the following conditions* by reducing inflammation (swelling and damage) and relieving pain:

* For details on these uses, see the “Celebrex uses” section below.
† Celebrex is approved to treat JRA in children ages 2 years and older. JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Drug details

Celebrex belongs to a drug class called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way. Celebrex contains the active ingredient celecoxib.

Celebrex comes as a capsule that you swallow. You can also open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on a spoonful of applesauce to swallow.

Celebrex is available in four different strengths: 50 milligrams (mg), 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg.

Effectiveness

For information on the effectiveness of Celebrex, see the “Celebrex uses” section below.

Celebrex is available as a generic drug called celecoxib. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may come in different forms and strengths.

Celebrex contains the active drug celecoxib.

Celebrex can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Celebrex. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Celebrex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Celebrex, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Celebrex can include:*

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Celebrex. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or visit Celebrex’s Medication Guide.
† For more information on this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Celebrex aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information on these side effects, see “Side effect details” below.
Celebrex has boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information, see “Cardiovascular problems” and “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section below.

Side effects in children

Celebrex is approved to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) in children ages 2 years and older. JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The drug isn’t approved for any other uses in children.

The side effects of Celebrex in children are similar to those in adults. One clinical study looked at the safety of Celebrex in children with JRA who took the medication for 6 months. In this study, the side effects reported were similar to the mild side effects reported in adults who took Celebrex. (See the “Mild side effects” section above to learn more.)

In some children, Celebrex can cause a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). With this condition, you have abnormal blood clotting throughout your body. DIC has been reported only in children with systemic onset JRA. This is a rare form of JRA that starts with repeating fevers, often with a rash. Children with this type of JRA may need tests to check their blood clotting while they take Celebrex. If your child has systemic onset JRA, talk with your doctor about the risk of DIC.

Clinical studies haven’t assessed the safety of using Celebrex for longer than 6 months in children. It’s not known if the risk of cardiovascular problems* with long-term Celebrex use in children is similar to that of adults.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for cardiovascular problems. For more information, see “Cardiovascular problems” in the “Side effect details” section below.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Celebrex. In clinical studies, allergic reactions occurred in 0.1% to 1.9% of people who took Celebrex for osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It’s not known how often allergic reactions occurred in people who took other drugs in these studies. And it’s not known how often allergic reactions occurred in people who used Celebrex for conditions other than OA or RA.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Celebrex. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Weight gain

Some people may gain weight while taking Celebrex. In clinical studies, weight gain was reported in 0.1% to 1.9% of people who took Celebrex for OA or RA. It’s not known how often this side effect occurred in people who took other drugs in these studies. And it’s not known how often weight gain occurred in people who used Celebrex for conditions other than OA or RA.

See your doctor if you have sudden unexpected weight gain while taking Celebrex. This can be a symptom of heart failure, which is a serious side effect of Celebrex.

Weight loss

Weight loss hasn’t been reported with Celebrex. See the “Common questions about Celebrex” section below to read more about this.

Side effects in older adults

People ages 65 years and older may have a higher risk for digestive problems* with Celebrex than younger adults. These problems include slow healing sores called ulcers, bleeding, or perforations (holes) in the stomach or intestine.

Older adults may also have a higher risk for kidney problems with Celebrex than younger adults. As you age, your kidneys may not work as well. You may also need to take other medications, such as treatments for high blood pressure. These factors can raise your risk of kidney problems.

Older adults will usually start treatment with a lower dose of Celebrex (200 mg a day) to minimize the risk of side effects.

If you’re an older adult and have questions about possible side effects of Celebrex, talk with your doctor.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.For more information, see “Digestive problems” below.

Rash and other skin reactions

Celebrex can sometimes cause a rash. In clinical studies of people with OA or RA, skin rash occurred in:

  • 2.2% of people who took Celebrex
  • 2.1% of people who took a placebo (treatment containing no active drug)
  • 2.1% of people who took naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
  • 1.3% of people who took diclofenac (Voltaren, Zipsor, Zorvolex, others)
  • 1.2% of people who took ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others)

Celebrex can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you should protect your skin from the sun while taking it.

Keep in mind that Celebrex can cause more serious skin reactions that, in some cases, can be fatal. It’s not known how often serious skin reactions occur with Celebrex.

Symptoms of a serious skin reaction can include:

  • widespread itchy rash
  • blistering or peeling skin
  • sores in your mouth or on your genitals
  • fever

If you’re using Celebrex and have a skin rash or other symptoms of a serious skin reaction, stop taking the drug and see your doctor right away.

Liver problems

Celebrex can sometimes cause liver problems, such as liver damage, hepatitis, and liver failure. These problems can affect how well your liver works. On rare occasions, liver problems can be fatal.

While you take Celebrex, you’ll have blood tests to check how well your liver is working. These are called liver function tests. They measure the levels of liver enzymes in your blood. (Enzymes are proteins that aid chemical changes in your body.) And higher levels of liver enzymes can be a sign of damage to your liver.

In clinical studies, 6% of people who took Celebrex for any of the conditions the drug treats had liver enzyme levels that were higher than normal. By comparison, 5% of people who took a placebo had liver enzyme levels that were higher than normal.

See your doctor if you have symptoms of a liver problem while taking Celebrex. These can include:

  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • flu-like symptoms
  • pain in the upper right of your belly
  • yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes
  • itching

If you develop a liver problem, you may need to stop taking Celebrex.

Kidney problems

Celebrex can sometimes cause kidney problems, such as acute kidney failure and kidney stones.

In clinical studies of people who took Celebrex for OA or RA, acute kidney failure occurred in less than 0.1% of the group. And kidney stones occurred in 0.1% to 1.9% of the people. It’s not known how often these problems occurred in people who took other drugs in these studies. And it’s not known how often these side effects occurred in people who took Celebrex for other conditions.

You’re more at risk of kidney problems with Celebrex if you’re older than age 65 years or if you already have kidney problems. You also have a higher risk if you have heart failure or liver problems, or if you become dehydrated during treatment. Dehydration can be caused by severe vomiting or diarrhea, and taking medications called diuretics (water tablets).

Taking certain other medications can also increase the risk of kidney problems with Celebrex. See the “Celebrex interactions” section below for more details.

If you have symptoms of kidney problems while taking Celebrex, tell your doctor. These can include:

  • trouble or pain urinating
  • producing less urine than usual
  • producing very dark urine
  • confusion
  • itching
  • swollen ankles or feet

If you develop a kidney problem, you may need to stop taking Celebrex.

Cardiovascular problems

Celebrex has a boxed warning for cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. This warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Celebrex is a type of drug called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Taking an NSAID can increase your risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack or stroke. In some cases, these problems can be fatal. You have a higher risk for cardiovascular problems if you take Celebrex at a high dose or for long periods of time.

And if you have heart disease, you could be at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems with Celebrex. (To learn more, see the “Celebrex precautions” section below.)

You shouldn’t take Celebrex if you’re planning to have or recently had a coronary artery bypass graft (heart bypass surgery). This is a surgery to improve blood supply to your heart. Taking Celebrex to treat pain after heart bypass surgery can increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk with doctor about what other pain relievers are suitable for you.

How often do cardiovascular problems occur with Celebrex?

Clinical studies that were carried out before Celebrex was approved included people with and without a risk of cardiovascular problems. They were being treated for OA or RA. In these studies:

  • heart attack occurred in 0.1% to 1.9% of people who took Celebrex
  • stroke occurred in less than 0.1% of people who took Celebrex

It’s not known how often these side effects occurred in people who took other drugs in these studies. And it’s not known how often heart attack and stroke occurred in people who took Celebrex for other conditions.

One large clinical study assessed the risk for heart attack and stroke with Celebrex in people who already had a high risk of cardiovascular problems. This study was carried out after Celebrex had been approved for prescribing.

This study involved 24,081 people with OA or RA. They were split into three groups. One group took 100 milligrams (mg) of Celebrex twice a day. A second group took 375 to 500 mg of naproxen twice a day. The third group took 600 to 800 mg of ibuprofen three times a day. Naproxen and ibuprofen are other types of NSAIDs.

Over 30 months, heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease occurred in:

  • 2.3% of people who took Celebrex
  • 2.5% of people who took naproxen
  • 2.7% of people who took ibuprofen

What are the symptoms of cardiovascular problems?

Symptoms of cardiovascular problems while taking Celebrex can include:

  • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest
  • pain in your jaw, neck, back, or arm
  • suddenly feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • weakness in one side of your body
  • drooping of one side of your face
  • slurred speech

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

To minimize the risk of cardiovascular problems, Celebrex should be used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Your doctor will tell you the best dosage for you.

Digestive problems

Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. This warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Celebrex is an NSAID, and drugs of this type can increase your risk of serious digestive problems. These problems include slow healing sores called ulcers, bleeding, and perforations (holes) in your digestive tract. Specifically, your stomach and intestines can be affected. Your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat and stomach, can also be affected. In rare cases, these digestive problems can be fatal.

Serious digestive problems can occur at any time while you take Celebrex and may not cause any symptoms at first. You’re at a higher risk for these problems if you’re older than age 65 years. Having had a peptic ulcer or bleeding in your stomach or intestine also increases your risk.

In addition, you have a higher risk for these problems if you take Celebrex at a high dose or for long periods of time. You may also have a higher risk if you smoke, drink alcohol, have poor general health, advanced liver disease, or blood clotting problems. Talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you.

Taking certain other medications can also increase the risk of digestive problems with Celebrex. See the “Celebrex interactions” section below for more details.

How often do digestive problems occur with Celebrex?

One large clinical study assessed the risk of serious digestive problems with Celebrex. This study involved 24,081 people with OA or RA. They were split into three groups. One group took 100 mg of Celebrex twice a day. A second group took 375 to 500 mg of naproxen twice a day. The third group took 600 to 800 mg of ibuprofen three times a day. Naproxen and ibuprofen are other types of NSAIDs.

Over 30 months, ulcers, bleeding, or perforation in the stomach or intestines occurred in:

  • 1.1% of people who took Celebrex
  • 1.5% of people who took naproxen
  • 1.6% of people who took ibuprofen

Another clinical study assessed the risk of serious digestive problems depending on age. Over 9 months of taking Celebrex, ulcers, bleeding, or perforation in the stomach or intestines occurred in:

  • 0.47% of people younger than age 65 years
  • 1.4% of people ages 65 years and older

To learn how Celebrex compared with low-dose aspirin in terms of serious digestive problems, see “Celebrex and blood thinners” in the “Celebrex interactions” section below.

What are the symptoms of digestive problems?

Symptoms of serious digestive problems with Celebrex can include:

See your doctor right away if you have these symptoms. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

To minimize the risk of digestive problems, Celebrex should always be used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Your doctor may also recommend that you take a medication to help protect your digestive system.

The Celebrex dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Celebrex to treat
  • your age
  • other medical conditions you may have
  • how well your liver works
  • how you respond to the first dose

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. The maximum dose that’s recommended is 400 milligrams (mg) twice a day. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths (50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg)

Celebrex comes as a capsule that you swallow. It’s available in four different strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg.

Dosage for acute pain

The typical Celebrex dosage for acute (short-term) pain, such as back pain, in adults is 400 mg for the first dose. This is followed by a second dose of 200 mg after 8 to 12 hours, if needed. After this, the typical dosage is 200 mg twice a day, as needed.

Dosage for osteoarthritis

The typical Celebrex dosage for osteoarthritis in adults is 200 mg a day. This can be taken as a single dose or as 100 mg twice a day.

Dosage for rheumatoid arthritis

The typical Celebrex dosage for rheumatoid arthritis in adults is 100 to 200 mg twice a day.

Dosage for ankylosing spondylitis

The typical dosage for ankylosing spondylitis in adults is 200 mg a day. This can be taken as a single dose or as 100 mg twice a day.

If you still have pain after 6 weeks, your doctor may recommend increasing the dosage to 400 mg a day. This can be taken as a single dose or as 200 mg twice a day. But if you still have pain after 6 weeks of taking this dose, Celebrex is unlikely to work for you. Your doctor will likely recommend an alternative treatment.

Dosage for menstrual cramps

The typical Celebrex dosage for primary dysmenorrhea (period pain or menstrual cramps) in adults is the same as for acute pain. For details, see the “Dosage for acute pain” section above.

Dosage for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

The dosage for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA)* in children ages 2 years and older is based on the child’s body weight.

  • For children who weigh 22 to 55 pounds (10 to 25 kilograms), the recommended dosage is 50 mg twice a day.
  • For children who weigh more than 55 lb (25 kg), the recommended dosage is 100 mg twice a day.

* JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Pediatric dosage

Celebrex is approved to treat JRA in children ages 2 years and older. See the section directly above (“Dosage for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis”) for the recommended dosage for this use.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Celebrex, take it as soon as you can. But if it’s nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. You shouldn’t take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

It depends why you’re taking it. Celebrex is taken on a short-term basis to relieve acute pain, such as back pain or menstrual cramps. But you may take Celebrex on a long-term basis for chronic conditions such as arthritis, if your doctor determines this is safe for you.

Celebrex should be taken at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Be sure to take Celebrex only as directed by your doctor.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Celebrex to treat certain conditions. Celebrex is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces inflammation (swelling and damage) and relieves pain. It’s FDA-approved to treat the conditions below.

Celebrex for acute pain

Celebrex is FDA-approved to treat acute (short-term) pain in adults.

Celebrex reduces inflammation, so it’s especially useful for treating pain in which swelling is involved. Types of acute pain that can be treated with Celebrex include:

Effectiveness for acute pain

Celebrex is a commonly used NSAID that’s well accepted as an effective treatment for acute pain. The drug has been widely used to treat acute pain since it was first approved in 1998.

For example, NSAIDs such as Celebrex are recommended in guidelines for treating pain following musculoskeletal injury. (“Musculoskeletal” refers to the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons.) NSAIDs are also recommended in guidelines for treating back pain.

Celebrex for osteoarthritis

Celebrex is FDA-approved to treat osteoarthritis (OA) in adults.

OA is the most common form of arthritis. It develops when the cartilage in a joint begins to wear down. As a result, the ends of your bones start to rub together when moving the joint. The joint produces more fluid to try to protect the bones, which can cause the joint to swell.

Over time, the changes in the joint can damage the bones, causing lumps called spurs to develop on the bones. This can lead to further inflammation in the tissues around the joint.

OA most commonly affects the hands, hips, and knees, but it can develop in any joint. The condition causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the affected joints. OA can lead to trouble moving a joint and difficulties performing everyday tasks, such as walking, using stairs, washing, and dressing.

OA is more common in older adults, but it can also develop in younger adults. Risk factors include aging, obesity, joint injury or surgery, and overusing a joint.

Effectiveness for osteoarthritis

Celebrex is a commonly used NSAID that’s well accepted as an effective treatment for OA. The drug works to reduce joint pain and stiffness, helping to improve the daily functioning of people with the condition. Celebrex has been widely used for OA since it was first approved in 1998. The drug is recommended in guidelines for treating OA from the American College of Rheumatology.

In clinical studies of people with OA, Celebrex was found to be similarly effective to a different NSAID called naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others). However, Celebrex is less likely to cause serious side effects than naproxen. These side effects include heart attack, stroke, slow healing sores called ulcers, and bleeding in your digestive system.*

* Celebrex has boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information, see “FDA warnings” at the top of this article.

Celebrex for rheumatoid arthritis

Celebrex is FDA-approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults.

RA is an autoimmune condition that’s caused by your immune system mistakenly attacking the lining of your joints. RA results in inflammation in the lining of the joints. Over time, this inflammation can damage the cartilage and bone, leading to deformity of the joints.

RA most commonly affects the wrists, hands, and feet, but it can affect any joint in the body. The condition always involves at least two joints and typically occurs symmetrically. This means RA affects the same joints on each side of the body.

RA can cause pain, swelling, warmth, redness, and stiffness of the affected joints. The condition can lead to trouble moving a joint and difficulties performing everyday tasks. People with RA can also have fatigue (lack of energy) and feel generally unwell.

Effectiveness for rheumatoid arthritis

Celebrex is well accepted to be effective for reducing joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in people with RA. Celebrex has been widely used for RA since it was first approved in 1998.

The American College of Rheumatology recommends that NSAIDs like Celebrex be used alongside disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) for RA. Celebrex relieves joint pain and swelling while DMARDs help stop the immune system from attacking the joints.

In clinical studies of people with RA, Celebrex was found to be similarly effective to a different NSAID called naproxen. However, Celebrex is less likely to cause serious side effects than naproxen. These side effects include heart attack, stroke, slow healing sores called ulcers, and bleeding in your digestive system.*

* Celebrex has boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information, see “FDA warnings” at the top of this article.

Celebrex for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Celebrex is FDA-approved to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) in children ages 2 years and older.

JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. “Idiopathic” means that the cause isn’t fully understood. Like adult RA, JRA appears to develop when a child’s immune system mistakenly attacks their joints. But JRA isn’t simply a child version of the adult condition.

JRA can affect one or many joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. But children with this condition can also have other symptoms, such as eye inflammation, fatigue, fever, swollen glands, and a rash.

Effectiveness for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Celebrex is a commonly used NSAID that’s well accepted as an effective treatment for JRA. The drug helps reduce joint pain and stiffness, helping to improve daily functioning in children with this condition. NSAIDs such as Celebrex are recommended in guidelines for treating JRA from the American College of Rheumatology.

Celebrex for ankylosing spondylitis

Celebrex is FDA-approved to treat ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adults.

AS is a type of arthritis where there is bone fusion in the spine. AS mainly affects the lower part of the spine, where it joins the pelvis. But AS can also affect parts of the body, such as the shoulders, hips, ribs, heels, hands, and feet. The condition runs in families but is more common in young men.

With AS, you have inflammation in your spinal joints. The inflammation can damage the joints and cause new bone to form. Over time, the new bone growth can fuse the vertebrae (bones in your spine) together. AS can cause pain and stiffness that typically starts in the lower back and buttocks. Many people with AS also have other symptoms such as fatigue, bowel inflammation, and eye inflammation.

Effectiveness for ankylosing spondylitis

Celebrex is a commonly used NSAID that’s well accepted as an effective treatment for AS. It reduces pain and stiffness, helping to improve daily functioning in people with this condition. The American College of Rheumatology recommends NSAIDs such as Celebrex for treating AS.

Celebrex for menstrual cramps

Celebrex is FDA-approved to treat primary dysmenorrhea (period pain or menstrual cramps) in adults.

“Dysmenorrhea” is the medical term for pain that you have before or during your menstrual period. Dysmenorrhea can be primary or secondary. With primary dysmenorrhea, your menstrual cramps aren’t related to another condition. With secondary dysmenorrhea, your menstrual cramps are caused or worsened by a condition affecting your uterus or pelvic organs, such as fibroids or endometriosis.

Effectiveness for menstrual cramps

Celebrex is a commonly used NSAID that’s well accepted as an effective treatment for menstrual cramps. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends using NSAIDs like Celebrex to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.

Celebrex and children

Celebrex is FDA-approved for use in children to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).* To read more about this, see the “Celebrex for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis” section above. Celebrex isn’t approved for any other uses in children.

* JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Celebrex can interact with several other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase the number of side effects or make them more severe.

Celebrex and other medications

Below are certain medications that can interact with Celebrex. This section doesn’t contain all drugs that may interact with Celebrex.

Before taking Celebrex, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Celebrex and other NSAIDs

Celebrex is a type of drug called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). You shouldn’t take Celebrex with other NSAIDs. Doing so can increase your risk of serious digestive problems.* These problems include slow healing sores called ulcers, bleeding, or perforations (holes) in your digestive tract. To read more about this side effect, see “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

Examples of other NSAIDs that shouldn’t be taken with Celebrex include:

  • aspirin (pain-relieving doses)
  • ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others)
  • diclofenac (Voltaren, Zipsor, Zorvolex, others)
  • naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
  • meloxicam (Mobic, Vivlodex)

Some over-the-counter pain relievers and cold and flu medications may contain certain NSAIDs. It’s important to always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking other medications with Celebrex. But in general, you should avoid any medications that contain the drugs listed above while using Celebrex.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Celebrex and blood thinners

Blood thinners are drugs that are used to treat or help prevent dangerous blood clots in your body. Taking Celebrex with blood thinners can raise your risk of bleeding, especially in your stomach or intestines.

Examples of blood thinners include:

Low-dose aspirin can also raise your risk of serious digestive problems* when taken with Celebrex.

A clinical study assessed the risk of serious digestive problems in people who took Celebrex with low-dose aspirin. Over 9 months, ulcers, bleeding, or perforations in the stomach or intestines occurred in:

  • 0.47% of people younger than age 65 years who took Celebrex alone
  • 1.26% of people younger than age 65 years who took Celebrex with aspirin
  • 1.4% of people ages 65 years and older who took Celebrex alone
  • 3.06% of people ages 65 years and older who took Celebrex with aspirin

If you’re taking a blood thinner, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you. If you do take Celebrex with one of these drugs, be sure to see your doctor right away if you have any signs of bleeding in your stomach or intestines. For more information about this side effect, see “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Celebrex and corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are drugs used to reduce inflammation (swelling and damage). Taking corticosteroids with Celebrex can raise your risk of serious digestive problems.* These problems include ulcers, bleeding, or perforations in your digestive tract. To read more about this side effect, see “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

Examples of corticosteroids include:

If you need to take a corticosteroid with Celebrex, be sure to see your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of digestive problems.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Celebrex and blood pressure medications

Celebrex can sometimes raise blood pressure. Taking Celebrex with certain blood pressure medications can make these medications less effective at controlling your blood pressure.

Examples of blood pressure medications that could be made less effective when taken with Celebrex include:

If you need to use blood pressure medication with Celebrex, your doctor will regularly check your blood pressure.

Taking Celebrex with diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or angiotensin II blockers can also raise your risk of kidney problems. If you need to take one of these drugs with Celebrex, you should be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Also, your doctor will do various tests to monitor your kidneys.

Celebrex and certain antidepressants

Taking Celebrex with certain antidepressants can raise your risk of bleeding, especially in your stomach or intestines.* Examples of these antidepressants include:

If you need to take an antidepressant with Celebrex, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to use the medications together. If you do take Celebrex with one of these drugs, be sure to see your doctor right away if you have any signs of bleeding in your stomach or intestines. For more information about this side effect, see “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Celebrex and digoxin

Digoxin (Lanoxin) is a drug that’s used to treat heart failure and irregular heartbeats. Taking Celebrex with digoxin can increase the level of digoxin in your body. This can increase your risk of digoxin side effects.

If you need to take digoxin with Celebrex, your doctor will monitor your digoxin level. They’ll adjust your digoxin dose as needed.

Celebrex and lithium

Lithium (Lithobid) is a drug that’s used to treat mental health problems, such as bipolar disorder and severe depression. Taking Celebrex with lithium can increase the level of lithium in your body. This can increase your risk of lithium side effects.

If you need to take lithium with Celebrex, your doctor will monitor your lithium level. They’ll adjust your lithium dose as needed.

Celebrex and methotrexate

Methotrexate (Trexall) is a drug that’s used to treat various types of cancer. It’s also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis. Taking Celebrex with methotrexate can increase your risk of methotrexate side effects.

If you need to take methotrexate with Celebrex, be sure to tell your doctor if any side effects become more severe or if you develop new ones. Your doctor will monitor you closely and adjust your treatment if needed.

Celebrex and cyclosporine

Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune) is a drug that’s used to stop your body from rejecting an organ transplant. The drug is also used to treat RA and psoriasis. Taking Celebrex with cyclosporine can increase your risk of kidney problems.

If you need to take cyclosporine with Celebrex, your doctor will monitor your kidney function and adjust your treatment as needed.

Celebrex and pemetrexed

Pemetrexed (Alimta, Pemfexy) is a drug that’s used to treat certain types of cancer. Taking Celebrex with pemetrexed can increase your risk of pemetrexed side effects.

If you need to take pemetrexed with Celebrex, be sure to tell your doctor if any side effects become more severe or if you develop new ones. They’ll monitor you closely and adjust your treatment if needed.

Celebrex and fluconazole

Fluconazole (Diflucan) is an antifungal drug. Taking Celebrex with fluconazole can reduce the breakdown of Celebrex in your body. This could increase the level of Celebrex and raise your risk of Celebrex side effects.

If you need to take fluconazole with Celebrex, your doctor may adjust your dose of Celebrex.

Celebrex and rifampin

Rifampin (Rifadin) is an antibiotic drug. Taking Celebrex with rifampin could increase the breakdown of Celebrex in your body. This could lower the level of Celebrex and make it less effective.

If you need to take rifampin with Celebrex, your doctor may adjust your dose of Celebrex.

Celebrex and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Celebrex. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Celebrex.

Celebrex and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Celebrex. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Celebrex, talk with your doctor.

Alcohol doesn’t affect the way Celebrex works in your body. However, drinking alcohol with Celebrex could raise your risk of certain side effects, such as nausea, indigestion (upset stomach), headache, and dizziness.

Keep in mind that taking Celebrex can increase your risk of ulcers (slow healing sores) and bleeding in your stomach and intestines.* Drinking alcohol with Celebrex can increase this risk even further.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink while you take Celebrex.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information, about this side effect, see “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

Celebrex is a type of pain reliever called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Celebrex, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for acute pain

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat acute (short-term) pain include:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • opioids, such as:
    • codeine
    • dihydrocodeine
  • other NSAIDs, such as:
    • naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
    • diclofenac (Zipsor, Zorvolex, Voltaren, others)
  • gabapentin (Neurontin)

Alternatives for osteoarthritis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat osteoarthritis include:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • other NSAIDs, such as:
    • aspirin
    • ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others)
    • naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
    • diclofenac (Zipsor, Zorvolex, Voltaren, others)
  • topical treatments applied to the skin over the joint, such as:
    • diclofenac gel (Voltaren Arthritis Pain gel)
  • corticosteroid injections in the affected joint, such as:
    • triamcinolone (Kenalog)
    • methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol)
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)

Alternatives for rheumatoid arthritis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis include:

Alternatives for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • other NSAIDs, such as:
    • ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others)
    • naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
    • diclofenac (Zipsor, Zorvolex, Voltaren, others)
    • meloxicam (Mobic, Vivlodex)
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as:
    • methotrexate (Trexall, Rasuvo, Otrexup)
    • leflunomide (Arava)
    • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
    • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • corticosteroid injections in the affected joint, such as:
    • triamcinolone (Kenalog)
    • methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol)

Alternatives for ankylosing spondylitis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat ankylosing spondylitis include:

  • other NSAIDs, such as:
    • ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others)
    • naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
    • diclofenac (Zipsor, Zorvolex, Voltaren, others)
    • meloxicam (Mobic, Vivlodex)
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as:
    • methotrexate (Trexall, Rasuvo, Otrexup)
    • leflunomide (Arava)
    • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
    • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • corticosteroid injections in the affected joint, such as:
    • triamcinolone (Kenalog)
    • methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol)

Alternatives for menstrual cramps

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat primary dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) include:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • other NSAIDs, such as:
    • aspirin
    • ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others)
    • naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
  • birth control, such as:
    • ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone acetate (Loestrin)

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Celebrex.

Can I take Celebrex if I have a sulfa allergy?

Not according to the manufacturer of Celebrex, but in practice, this can be a slightly gray area.

If you have sulfa allergy, you’ve had an allergic reaction to a medication that contains sulfonamide. Sulfonamide medications include trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra, Bactrim), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), and dapsone. If you have a sulfa allergy, it’s possible that taking a different sulfonamide medication could also cause an allergic reaction. Celebrex contains a sulfonamide medication.

However, some research suggests that not every medication that contains a sulfonamide will trigger an allergic reaction in people with a sulfa allergy. So in some cases, your doctor might consider prescribing Celebrex. (For example, if there isn’t a suitable alternative.) But the decision would be made on a case-by-case basis.

If you have a sulfa allergy, you should talk with your doctor before taking Celebrex.

Is Celebrex a blood thinner?

No, Celebrex isn’t a blood thinner. Blood thinners are drugs that are used to help prevent blood clots. Celebrex, on the other hand, is a type of drug called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs are used to treat pain and inflammation (swelling and damage).

Aspirin is a different NSAID that’s also used in low doses as a blood thinner. NSAIDs like Celebrex can sometimes prolong bleeding time. But unlike aspirin, Celebrex doesn’t have a blood thinning effect.

How long can you take Celebrex for?

To relieve pain, you should take Celebrex at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. For example, to treat acute (short-term) pain, like menstrual cramps, back pain, or pain following surgery, you may need to take Celebrex only for a few days or weeks.

However, if you have a chronic (long-term) condition like arthritis, you might need to take Celebrex on a long-term basis. You should do this only if your doctor considers it safe for you to do so.

Taking Celebrex for long periods of time can raise the risk for serious side effects. These include heart attack, stroke, and ulcers, or bleeding in your stomach or intestines.* (For more information about these side effects, see “Cardiovascular problems” and “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.) If you do take Celebrex for a long period of time, your doctor will also typically prescribe a medication to help protect your digestive system.

It’s important not to take Celebrex for too long if the drug isn’t working for you. For example, tell your doctor if you still have pain after taking 200 mg of Celebrex a day for 2 weeks. And if you have ankylosing spondylitis, tell your doctor if you still have pain after taking 200 mg of Celebrex a day for 6 weeks. Your doctor may recommend increasing your dosage or suggest a different treatment.

* Celebrex has boxed warnings for cardiovascular and digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Can Celebrex cause weight loss?

It’s not likely. Weight loss wasn’t reported in clinical studies of Celebrex. Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about weight loss while taking Celebrex.

Is it safe to use other pain relievers during my Celebrex treatment?

In some cases it can be safe. For example, it’s safe to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) with Celebrex. It’s also safe to take opioid pain relievers with Celebrex. These can include codeine, dihydrocodeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone (Percocet).

However, you shouldn’t take NSAIDs with Celebrex. Celebrex is an NSAID, and taking more than one NSAID can raise your risk of having certain side effects. These include ulcers and bleeding in your stomach and intestines.* (For more information about these side effects, see “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.)

NSAIDs to avoid while you’re taking Celebrex include:

  • ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others)
  • diclofenac (Voltaren, Zipsor, Zorvolex, others)
  • naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others)
  • meloxicam (Mobic, Vivlodex)

If you need to take another pain reliever while taking Celebrex, talk with your doctor first. They can suggest the most appropriate way to manage your pain.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Was Celebrex ever taken off the market?

No, Celebrex has never been taken off the market. Two similar pain relievers, called rofecoxib (Vioxx) and valdecoxib (Bextra), were withdrawn from the market in 2004 and 2005. That’s because these drugs were found to increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. And the FDA considered the risks of these drugs to outweigh their benefits.

Vioxx, Bextra, and Celebrex all belong to a class of drugs called COX-2 inhibitors. (A class of drugs is a group of medications that act in a similar way.) COX-2 inhibitors are a type of NSAID. So after Vioxx and Bextra were withdrawn from the market, a large clinical study was carried out to check the safety of Celebrex.

Researchers found that the risks of heart attack and stroke with Celebrex were much lower than with Vioxx or Bextra. The study also found that the risks were lower with Celebrex than with high doses of naproxen or ibuprofen. (Naproxen and ibuprofen are widely used and commonly prescribed NSAIDs, but they aren’t COX-2 inhibitors.)

Over a 30-month period, 2.3% of people who took Celebrex had a heart attack or stroke. This was compared with 2.5% of people who took naproxen and 2.7% of people who took ibuprofen. Based on these results, the FDA decided that benefits of Celebrex outweigh its risks.

Celebrex is a type of pain reliever called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It reduces inflammation and relieves pain for various conditions. Celebrex is used to treat certain forms of arthritis as well as acute pain, including menstrual cramps. “Acute” means short term. For details on the conditions the drug treats, see the “Celebrex uses” section above.

What causes the pain?

If you have damage to tissues in your body, such as following an injury or surgery, or due to arthritis, your body makes prostaglandins. These are hormones created by an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). Prostaglandins are made as part of the healing process, but they also cause inflammation and pain.

Prostaglandins are also responsible for causing your uterus to contract during your menstrual period. The contractions cause the lining of the uterus to be expelled, and they also cause menstrual cramps.

What does Celebrex do?

Celebrex works by stopping COX from making prostaglandins. This reduces inflammation and relieves pain.

How long does it take to work?

Celebrex starts to work soon after you start taking it. The drug can typically relieve acute pain like menstrual cramps or pain following surgery within 60 minutes of you taking a dose.

The anti-inflammatory effect of Celebrex takes a little longer. If you have arthritis, you may need to take Celebrex for a few days before the full effect is reached. However, in clinical studies, Celebrex was found to significantly reduce osteoarthritis pain within 24 to 48 hours of starting treatment.

How long does Celebrex stay in your system?

It takes about 2 days for Celebrex to be removed from your body after you stop taking it.

You don’t need to be concerned about withdrawal and dependence if you’re taking Celebrex.

Certain pain-relieving drugs have a high potential for misuse. That’s because taking them can cause pleasant or euphoric feelings, also known as a high. This can sometimes lead to addiction or dependence on these drugs and withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them.

Drugs that are associated with these problems are primarily opioid pain relievers, such as codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin), and hydrocodone (Percocet). Opioids are sometimes known as narcotics. Due to their potential for misuse and dependence, these drugs are controlled substances. This means they’re prescribed and dispensed under federal laws. These laws help ensure that these drugs are used safely.

Unlike opioids, Celebrex isn’t a narcotic or a controlled substance. It doesn’t cause a high, it’s not addictive, and stopping Celebrex use doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms. When you stop taking Celebrex, there’s no need to taper your dose (stop treatment gradually).

If you have concerns about withdrawal or dependence for any medications you take, including Celebrex, talk with your doctor.

You may wonder how Celebrex compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Celebrex and ibuprofen are alike and different.

Ingredients

Celebrex is a brand-name drug that contains celecoxib. Ibuprofen is a generic drug. Ibuprofen is also available under several brand names, including Ibu-Tab, Advil, and Motrin.

Celebrex and ibuprofen are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Uses

Here’s a list of conditions that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Celebrex and ibuprofen to treat.

* The form of ibuprofen that comes as a suspension (a type of mixture in liquid) can be used to treat these conditions in adults as well as children ages 6 months and older.
† JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Drug forms and administration

Celebrex comes as a capsule that you swallow. You can also open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on a spoonful of applesauce to swallow. You’ll likely take Celebrex once or twice a day. The drug is available only by prescription.

Ibuprofen comes as a tablet, capsule, and liquid suspension that you swallow. These forms of the drug can be taken up to four times a day.

Ibuprofen also comes as an infusion. This in injection into your vein that’s given over a period of time by a healthcare provider. They can give this form of ibuprofen up to four times a day.

Ibuprofen is available OTC and by prescription. OTC brands of ibuprofen include Advil and Motrin. Higher doses of ibuprofen are available only by prescription under brand names such as Ibu-Tab.

Side effects and risks

Celebrex and ibuprofen both contain an NSAID drug. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects, but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Celebrex, with ibuprofen, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Celebrex, with ibuprofen, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* Both Celebrex and prescription ibuprofen have boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information on these side effects of Celebrex, see “Cardiovascular problems” and “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

Effectiveness

Celebrex and ibuprofen have different FDA-approved uses, but when prescribed by a doctor, they’re both used to treat the following conditions:

  • OA
  • RA
  • acute pain
  • primary dysmenorrhea
  • JRA*

NSAIDs like Celebrex and ibuprofen are well accepted as effective pain relievers for these conditions. And prescribed doses of ibuprofen are considered to be as similarly effective as Celebrex. (Lower doses of ibuprofen that you can buy OTC may not be as effective as Celebrex.)

Both drugs are widely prescribed to treat the conditions listed above. For example, NSAIDs such as Celebrex and ibuprofen are recommended in guidelines for treating pain following musculoskeletal injury, back pain, and menstrual cramps. The drugs are also recommended in guidelines for OA, RA, and JRA.*

However, there can be differences in the risk of side effects with these drugs. For example, lower doses of ibuprofen that you can buy OTC are less likely than Celebrex to cause serious side effects. These side effects include stomach ulcers (sores),† heart attacks,† stroke,† and kidney problems. On the other hand, a large clinical study found that Celebrex is less likely than higher prescribed doses of ibuprofen to cause these serious side effects.

Talk with your doctor about whether either of these drugs is suitable for you.

* JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
† Both Celebrex and prescription ibuprofen have boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information on these side effects of Celebrex, see “Cardiovascular problems” and “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, the costs of Celebrex and ibuprofen will vary depending on your treatment plan. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Celebrex is a brand-name drug. It’s also available in a generic form called celecoxib. Ibuprofen is a generic drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

Like ibuprofen (above), the drug Mobic has uses similar to those of Celebrex. Here’s a comparison of how Celebrex and Mobic are alike and different.

Ingredients

Celebrex contains celecoxib. Mobic contains meloxicam. Both Celebrex and Mobic are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Uses

Here’s a list of conditions that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Celebrex and Mobic to treat.

* Celebrex is approved to treat JRA in children ages 2 years and older. Mobic is approved to treat JRA in children who weigh about 132 pounds (60 kilograms) or more.
† JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Drug forms and administration

Celebrex comes as a capsule that you swallow. You can also open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on a spoonful of applesauce to swallow. You’ll likely take Celebrex once or twice a day.

Mobic comes as a tablet that you swallow. You’ll likely take it once a day.

Both Celebrex and Mobic are available only by prescription.

Side effects and risks

Celebrex and Mobic are both NSAIDs. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

This list contains up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with both Celebrex and Mobic (when taken individually):

Serious side effects

This list contains examples of serious side effects that can occur with both Celebrex and Mobic (when taken individually):

* Both Celebrex and Mobic have boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information on Celebrex, see “Cardiovascular problems” and “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

Effectiveness

Celebrex and Mobic have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat OA, RA, and JRA.*

NSAIDs like Celebrex and Mobic are well accepted as effective treatments for these conditions. The drugs are considered to be similarly effective and are both widely prescribed. For example, NSAIDs such as Celebrex or Mobic are recommended in guidelines for treating OA, RA, and JRA.*

However, there can be differences in the risk of side effects with these drugs. For example, Celebrex is less likely than Mobic to cause ulcers or bleeding in your stomach or intestines.†

Talk with your doctor about whether either of these drugs is suitable for you.

* JRA is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
† Both Celebrex and Mobic have boxed warnings for digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For more information on Celebrex, see “Digestive problems” in the “Side effect details” section above.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, the costs of Celebrex and Mobic will vary depending on your treatment plan. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Celebrex and Mobic are both brand-name drugs. They’re also both available in generic forms. The generic form of Celebrex is celecoxib. And the generic form of Mobic is meloxicam. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

As with all medications, the cost of Celebrex can vary. To find current prices for Celebrex capsules in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Before approving coverage for Celebrex, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Celebrex, contact your insurance company.

Financial assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Celebrex, help is available. Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer of Celebrex, offers a Celebrex Savings Card. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 855-612-1956 or visit the program website.

Generic version

Celebrex is available in a generic form called celecoxib. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of celecoxib compares to the cost of Celebrex, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Celebrex and you’re interested in using celecoxib instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

You may take Celebrex with certain other medications to help control your pain. For example, Celebrex is often used with acetaminophen (Tylenol). This is a different type of pain-relieving drug that you buy without a prescription.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may take Celebrex with a disease modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). DMARDs help stop your immune system from attacking your joints.

Examples of DMARDs include:

  • methotrexate (Trexall, Rasuvo, Otrexup)
  • leflunomide (Arava)
  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)

If you have questions about using Celebrex with DMARDs, talk with your doctor.

You should take Celebrex according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions.

Celebrex comes as a capsule that you swallow. You can also open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on a spoonful of applesauce that’s room temperature or cool. You’ll then swallow the applesauce with water right away.

When to take

Celebrex may be taken once or twice a day, as directed by your doctor.

  • If you take Celebrex once a day, you can take it at any time of day. But you should always stick to the same time.
  • If you take Celebrex twice a day, you should take it in the morning and evening, ideally 12 hours apart.
  • For acute (short-term) pain, such as menstrual cramps, you should take your first dose when you first have pain. If needed, you can take a second dose after 8 to 12 hours. After this, you should take Celebrex twice a day, as needed to relieve pain. Ideally, your doses should be 12 hours apart.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Taking Celebrex with food

If your dose of Celebrex is up to 200 milligrams (mg) twice a day, you can take it either with or without food.

But if your doctor has recommended taking a higher dose of 400 mg twice a day, you should take this with food.

Can Celebrex be crushed, split, or chewed?

You shouldn’t crush or chew Celebrex capsules. But if you have trouble swallowing the drug, you can split open the capsules and sprinkle the contents onto a spoonful of applesauce. (The applesauce should be room temperature or cool.) You’ll then swallow the applesauce with water right away.

The possible risks of taking Celebrex while pregnant depend on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

It’s not known if Celebrex is safe to take during the first 30 weeks of pregnancy. There haven’t been enough studies of the drug in pregnant women to know for sure how it can affect the fetus. Animal studies found harmful effects to the fetus when Celebrex was given during pregnancy. However, animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

Celebrex should be avoided after 30 weeks of pregnancy. Studies have shown that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Celebrex can have harmful effects on a fetus if taken during the last trimester (week 27 to delivery) of pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking Celebrex. They can help you weigh the possible risks and benefits of taking the drug before 30 weeks of pregnancy.

Celebrex and fertility

In women, taking Celebrex can reduce your fertility for a time by delaying ovulation. This effect goes away when you stop taking Celebrex.

If you’re planning a pregnancy or trying to get pregnant, you should talk with your doctor about your fertility before taking Celebrex.

The possible risks of taking Celebrex while pregnant depend on how far along you are in your pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Celebrex.

For more information about taking Celebrex during pregnancy, see the “Celebrex and pregnancy” section above.

Celebrex may pass into your breast milk. If you’re breastfeeding, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Celebrex.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warnings

This drug has boxed warnings. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Cardiovascular problems

Celebrex is a type of drug called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Taking an NSAID can increase your risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke. In some cases, these problems can be fatal. You have a higher risk for cardiovascular problems if you take Celebrex at a high dose or for long periods of time.

You shouldn’t take Celebrex if you’re planning to have or recently had a coronary artery bypass graft (heart bypass surgery). This is a surgery to improve blood supply to your heart. Taking Celebrex to treat pain after heart bypass surgery can increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Digestive problems

Celebrex is an NSAID, and drugs of this type can increase your risk of serious digestive problems. These problems include slow healing sores called ulcers, bleeding, and perforations (holes) in your digestive tract. Specifically, your stomach and intestines can be affected. Your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat and stomach, can also be affected. In some cases, these digestive problems can be fatal.

Serious digestive problems can occur at any time while you take Celebrex and may not cause any symptoms at first. You’re at a higher risk for these problems if you’re older than age 65 years. Having had a peptic ulcer or bleeding in your stomach or intestine also increases your risk.

Other precautions

Before taking Celebrex, talk with your doctor about your health history. Celebrex may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Sulfa allergy. According to the manufacturer of Celebrex, you shouldn’t take the drug if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to sulfonamide medications. These include trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra, Bactrim), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), and dapsone. However, Celebrex is sometimes prescribed to people with a sulfa allergy on a case-by-case basis. To read more about this, see the “Common questions about Celebrex” section above. If you have a sulfa allergy, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you.
  • Allergic reaction. Don’t take Celebrex if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction or a serious skin reaction, such as a widespread itchy rash, to Celebrex or any of its ingredients. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Allergy to other NSAIDs. Celebrex is a type of drug called an NSAID. Don’t take Celebrex if you’ve ever had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reaction after taking a different NSAID drug. Other NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Advil, Motrin, others), and naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Aleve, others). Ask your doctor what other medications are better choices for you.
  • Asthma. Celebrex can cause asthma attacks in some people. If you have asthma, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you.
  • High blood pressure. Celebrex can cause or worsen high blood pressure. And having high blood pressure when you take Celebrex can raise your risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack or stroke. (See the “FDA warnings” above to read more about this.) If you have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you. If you take Celebrex, they’ll likely monitor your blood pressure.
  • Heart disease. If you have heart disease, you could be at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems with Celebrex. This is especially the case if you’ve had a heart attack in the past. (See “FDA warnings” above for more information.) You could also be at a higher risk if you have risk factors for heart disease. These include having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes; and being a smoker. Talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you.
  • Heart failure. Celebrex can cause or worsen heart failure. And taking Celebrex when you have heart failure can raise your risk of kidney problems. If you have heart failure, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you. If you do take Celebrex, see your doctor if you have new or worsening symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, swollen ankles, or weight gain.
  • Liver problems. Celebrex can sometimes cause or worsen liver problems. In addition, Celebrex is broken down by your liver. So if your liver doesn’t work well, this can cause Celebrex to build up in your body, possibly increasing the risk of Celebrex side effects. (See the “Celebrex side effects” section above to learn more.) If you have liver problems, ask your doctor whether Celebrex is right for you. If you take the drug, they may prescribe a lower dosage than usual. You’ll also likely have blood tests to check your liver while you take Celebrex.
  • Kidney problems. Celebrex can sometimes cause or worsen kidney problems, especially if you become dehydrated while taking it. If you have kidney problems, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you.
  • Pregnancy. The possible risks of taking Celebrex while pregnant depend on how far along you are in your pregnancy. For more information, please see the “Celebrex and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. Celebrex may pass into breast milk. For more information, please see the “Celebrex and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Celebrex, see the “Celebrex side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Celebrex can lead to serious side effects. Do not use more Celebrex than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Celebrex from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Celebrex capsules should be stored at a room temperature of 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C) in a tightly sealed container. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Celebrex and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Celebrex is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions in adults ages 18 years and older:

Celebrex is also FDA-approved to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children ages 2 years and older.

Administration

Celebrex is taken orally once or twice daily.

Mechanism of action

Celebrex contains the NSAID celecoxib. NSAIDs act by stopping the production of prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are synthesized locally in damaged tissues, where they’re involved in producing inflammation and pain. Prostaglandins are also produced in the uterus, where they’re responsible for causing uterine contractions that cause the uterine lining to shed. These contractions cause primary dysmenorrhea.

Prostaglandins are produced by cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, of which there are two types: COX-1 and COX-2. Celebrex mainly inhibits the action of COX-2. By stopping the production of prostaglandins, Celebrex reduces pain and inflammation.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

After oral administration, the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) of celecoxib is reached after approximately 3 hours. Steady state is reached after approximately 5 days of multiple dosing.

The area under the curve (AUC) of celecoxib at steady state is 50% higher in people ages 65 years and older than in younger adults. These people should start treatment at the lowest dose if they weigh less than 50 kg.

Celecoxib is approximately 97% bound to plasma proteins.

Celecoxib is mainly metabolized in the liver by CYP2C9 to inactive metabolites. These are excreted in the feces (approximately 57%) and the urine (approximately 27%). Celecoxib has an effective half-life of approximately 11 hours.

Hepatic impairment reduces the clearance of celecoxib, and people with moderate hepatic impairment should be prescribed a 50% lower dose.

Celebrex has not been studied in people with severe renal or hepatic impairment and is not recommended in these people.

Contraindications

Celebrex is contraindicated in people with:

Storage

Celebrex capsules should be stored at a room temperature of 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). Celebrex is stable for short periods of time at 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.