Celebrex (celecoxib) is a brand-name prescription medication, and like other drugs, it can cause side effects. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Celebrex to treat:

Here are some fast facts about Celebrex:

In some cases, your doctor may recommend taking Celebrex long term. However, if you’re prescribed the drug for period pain and cramps or acute pain, they may recommend taking the drug short term. Taking Celebrex for a shorter period may help decrease the risk of serious side effects.

Read on to learn about potential serious side effects of Celebrex, as well as common and mild ones. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Celebrex can cause certain side effects (also called adverse reactions), some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Celebrex in clinical trials:

  • diarrhea
  • indigestion
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • nausea*†
  • headache†

* Nausea may be a symptom of a serious digestive problem, and Celebrex has a boxed warning for these problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
† For more information, see “Side effect specifics” below.

Mild side effects can occur with Celebrex use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Celebrex’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Celebrex include:

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Celebrex and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* Nausea may be a symptom of a serious digestive problem, and Celebrex has a boxed warning for these problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.
† For more information, see “Side effect specifics” below.

In most cases, side effects from Celebrex are mild. However, it’s possible to develop serious side effects from this medication as well.

Celebrex may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Celebrex’s prescribing information.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Celebrex, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:

  • Liver problems, such as liver failure. Symptoms can include:
    • abdominal pain
    • nausea or vomiting
  • High blood pressure typically doesn’t cause symptoms. However, symptoms of very high blood pressure can include:
    • headache
    • nosebleed
    • chest pain
    • difficulty breathing
  • Heart failure. Symptoms can include:
    • shortness of breath
    • swelling of the ankles or feet
    • weight gain
  • High potassium level in your blood. Symptoms can include:
    • shortness of breath
    • nausea or vomiting
  • Anemia (low red blood cell levels). Symptoms can include:
    • weakness or fatigue
    • dizziness
    • cold hands or feet
  • Kidney problems, such as kidney damage. Symptoms can include:
    • blood in your urine
    • swelling of the arms or legs
    • shortness of breath
  • Serious skin side effects. Symptoms can include:
    • blistering of the skin
    • rash
    • fever
  • Serious digestive problems.*†
  • Serious cardiovascular problems.*†
  • Severe allergic reaction.†

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.
† For details, see “Side effect specifics” below.

Celebrex is approved to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) in children ages 2 years and older. Most of the side effects reported in adults taking Celebrex can also occur in children.

However, the use of Celebrex in children may cause a serious condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). With DIC, extreme blood clotting occurs throughout the body.

In clinical trials of Celebrex, children who developed DIC had systemic JRA. This is a form of JRA that affects the entire body.

Due to the possible risk of DIC, your child’s doctor will likely monitor them for symptoms of clotting or bleeding during Celebrex treatment. You should also watch for symptoms of DIC in your child. Be sure to tell your child’s doctor right away if you notice any. Warmth, pain, and swelling in the lower legs could indicate a blood clot. Symptoms of bleeding can include bruising easily and having frequent nosebleeds.

If you’re concerned about Celebrex side effects in children, talk with your child’s doctor.

Side effects of Celebrex in older adults are likely to be similar to those in younger adults who take the drug. The term “older adults” refers to people ages 65 years and older.

However, older adults (sometimes referred to as elderly) may be at an increased risk of certain side effects. For example, heart problems, kidney conditions, and digestive problems (such as stomach ulcers) occur more often in older adults taking Celebrex.

It’s important to note that Celebrex has a boxed warning about the risk of serious digestive problems. A boxed warning is the mostserious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see “Side effect specifics” below.

If you’re an older adult taking Celebrex, talk with your doctor about your risk of side effects. They may monitor you more often than usual to help prevent any side effects from becoming serious. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of Celebrex.

Celebrex may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

I’m taking a 200-mg dose of Celebrex. What side effects can I expect?

Each person taking Celebrex has a different risk of side effects. Your risk may be affected by factors such as other drugs you take and additional medical conditions you have.

Your risk of side effects may also increase with a higher dose. For example, if you’re taking a 200-milligram (mg) dose of Celebrex, you may be at a higher risk of side effects than someone taking a 100-mg dose.

Some common side effects of Celebrex can include diarrhea, headache, and abdominal pain. The lists of more common, mild, and serious side effects above can provide you with more information.

Before you start taking Celebrex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what side effects to expect.

Can Celebrex cause long-term side effects?

Yes, it’s possible for Celebrex to cause long-term side effects with short- or long-term use. These side effects may last after you stop taking the drug. Examples of long-term side effects can include:

Your doctor will monitor you for any side effects throughout your treatment with Celebrex. If you are concerned about long-term side effects occurring during your treatment with Celebrex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Will Celebrex make me feel ‘high’ or cause euphoria?

No, Celebrex should not cause you to feel “high” or cause euphoria (intense excitement or happiness). Celebrex is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works to treat pain by decreasing inflammation. It does not have effects that can cause a “high” feeling.

In comparison, other pain medications, such as opioid drugs, may cause a feeling of being “high.” An example of an opioid is oxycodone (Roxicodone).

Opioid drugs may have a risk of misuse or dependence. Misuse is when a drug is taken in a different way or for a different purpose than how it was prescribed. Dependence occurs when your body becomes used to having a medication, and you need it to feel as you usually do. Celebrex does not cause misuse or dependence.

If you have additional questions or concerns about side effects you may experience with Celebrex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Celebrex cause withdrawal side effects when treatment is stopped?

No, Celebrex should not cause withdrawal side effects if you stop treatment.

Withdrawal side effects can occur if your body becomes dependent on a medication and then you stop taking it. Celebrex does not cause dependence.

Keep in mind that stopping Celebrex treatment may cause your symptoms to return. For example, if you take Celebrex for osteoarthritis and you stop taking the drug, symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as joint pain, may come back. These are not withdrawal side effects.

You should not stop taking Celebrex without consulting your doctor first. If you’d like to stop treatment with the drug, talk with your doctor about the best way to do so. In some cases, they may recommend that you take a different medication to treat your condition.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Celebrex may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for the drug.

Digestive problems

It’s possible for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Celebrex to cause digestive problems. In fact, this medication has a boxed warning for the risk of serious digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The purpose of a boxed warning is to alert doctors and patients about the risks of taking a medication.

Celebrex can cause swelling, bleeding, tears, or ulcers (sores) in your digestive system. The esophagus, stomach, or intestines may be affected. In rare cases, these digestive problems can be fatal. Your doctor can tell you more.

The following factors may put you at an increased risk of developing a serious digestive problem:

  • having had stomach or intestinal ulcers or bleeding in the past
  • taking Celebrex or other NSAIDs for a long time
  • taking any of the following in addition to Celebrex:
  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol
  • being age 65 years or older
  • having other medical conditions that may increase your risk, such as liver problems

What you can do

Be sure to learn the symptoms of digestive problems and tell your doctor right away if you develop any. Symptoms can include bloating, heartburn, nausea, and a burning pain in your abdomen. Keep in mind that it’s possible to develop a digestive problem and not have any symptoms.

You should also avoid taking other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil), during Celebrex treatment. Taking another NSAID while you’re also taking Celebrex can increase your risk of digestive problems.

Your doctor will likely monitor you for symptoms of digestive problems during your treatment with Celebrex. In addition, they’ll usually prescribe the lowest dose for the shortest time possible to treat your symptoms. This is meant to help decrease the risk of digestive problems.

If you do develop a digestive problem with Celebrex, your doctor will likely recommend that you stop treatment. They’ll also treat your digestive problem. In addition, your doctor may recommend a treatment option other than Celebrex.

Cardiovascular problems

It’s possible for NSAIDs such as Celebrex to increase your risk of cardiovascular problems. (The term “cardiovascular” refers to the heart and blood vessels.) In fact, this drug has a boxed warning for the risk of serious cardiovascular problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. The purpose of a boxed warning is to alert doctors and patients about the risks of taking a medication.

Cardiovascular problems due to NSAIDs may include heart attack or stroke. In rare cases, they may be fatal. It’s possible for cardiovascular problems to occur as quickly as during the first few weeks of Celebrex treatment. Taking a higher dose of Celebrex may increase your risk further.

You may also be at an increased risk if you recently had coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery or a heart attack. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your heart health so they can help determine whether Celebrex is right for you.

What you can do

To help prevent cardiovascular problems, your doctor will likely prescribe the lowest dose of Celebrex for the shortest time possible.

Your doctor will also want you to be aware of possible symptoms of a cardiovascular problem, which may include:

  • chest pain
  • weakness
  • pain in your jaw, arms, or back
  • numbness on one side of your body

If you develop any of these symptoms, seek emergency help right away. Once your condition is treated, your doctor will likely recommend that you try a medication other than Celebrex.

Weight gain

It’s possible to experience weight gain with Celebrex. This side effect was reported only in people taking the drug for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Weight gain was not common.

What you can do

If you experience weight gain during your treatment with Celebrex, talk with your doctor. In some cases, weight gain may be a symptom of heart failure. And heart failure is a rare side effect of Celebrex.

Your doctor can help determine what may be causing your weight gain. They may also be able to recommend ways for you to help manage your weight.

Headache

Headaches may occur during Celebrex treatment, but this is not common. This side effect was reported in people taking Celebrex for osteoarthritis, RA, or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

What you can do

If you experience headaches during your treatment with Celebrex, talk with your doctor. They can help determine what may be causing them.

Your doctor can also suggest possible headache treatments while you take Celebrex. For example, they may recommend an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Celebrex can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • flushing
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Celebrex. However, if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Talk with your doctor about any medical conditions you have before starting treatment with Celebrex.

Boxed warnings

This drug has boxed warnings about risks of serious digestive and cardiovascular problems. These are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see “Side effect specifics” above.

Other precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Celebrex. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These are considered drug-condition or drug-factor interactions. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Liver problems. It’s possible for Celebrex to cause liver problems, such as liver failure. If you already have a liver condition, taking Celebrex may make it worse. You may also be at an increased risk of side effects from Celebrex if you have liver problems. Your doctor can help determine if Celebrex is a safe treatment option for you. If they do recommend the medication, your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage.

Kidney problems. Celebrex may cause kidney problems, such as kidney damage. If you already have a kidney problem, taking Celebrex may worsen it. Your doctor can help determine whether Celebrex is right for you. In some cases, such as having severe kidney problems, your doctor may recommend that you take a different medication.

Asthma. Before taking Celebrex, tell your doctor if you have or have had asthma. Celebrex can increase the risk of difficulty breathing or other asthma symptoms in people with asthma. In some cases, your doctor may monitor you for asthma symptoms throughout your treatment with Celebrex. Other times, they may suggest a different treatment option.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Celebrex or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Celebrex. These ingredients include chemicals known as sulfonamides.

Taking Celebrex could cause another allergic reaction. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.

High blood pressure. It’s possible for Celebrex to cause high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, taking this medication can make your condition worse.

You may also have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems if you take Celebrex and have high blood pressure.*

Your doctor can help determine whether Celebrex is safe for you to take. In some cases, they may check your blood pressure more often than usual and have you monitor it at home. Your doctor may also want to treat your high blood pressure with medication.

Heart conditions such as heart failure. If you have any heart conditions, including heart failure, tell your doctor before taking Celebrex. This medication can increase your risk of cardiovascular problems, which can be serious.* So if you have a heart condition, taking Celebrex may worsen it and further increase your risk of cardiovascular problems.

Your doctor can help determine if Celebrex is safe for you to take with your heart condition.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning about the risk of serious cardiovascular problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For details, see “Side effect specifics” above.

Alcohol with Celebrex

There aren’t any known interactions between Celebrex and alcohol. However, drinking alcohol while taking Celebrex may increase your risk of side effects from the medication. This is because both Celebrex and alcohol can cause:

  • nausea
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • liver problems, such as liver damage

In addition, consuming alcohol during Celebrex treatment can increase your risk of digestive problems, such as ulcers or bleeding. Celebrex has a boxed warning about the risk of serious digestive problems. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For details, see “Side effect specifics” above.

If you’d like to drink alcohol during your treatment with Celebrex, talk with your doctor. They can help determine how much, if any, is safe.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Celebrex

Here’s some information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, and Celebrex.

Pregnancy

It’s possible for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Celebrex, to cause harm to a fetus if the drug is taken during pregnancy. Specifically, if Celebrex is taken after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the medication can cause heart or kidney problems in the fetus.

Due to these risks, your doctor will likely recommend that you do not take Celebrex after 30 weeks of pregnancy. They may also recommend limiting your use of Celebrex if you need to take the drug between 20 weeks and 30 weeks.

It’s not known if it’s safe to take Celebrex earlier in pregnancy. Animal studies showed an increased risk of congenital anomalies (also known as birth defects) and pregnancy loss in pregnant animals given the drug. However, animal studies don’t always indicate what may happen in humans.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether Celebrex is right for you.

Breastfeeding

Celebrex is believed to pass into breast milk. This means that a breastfed child would be exposed to the drug.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether breastfeeding is safe during your Celebrex treatment.

In most cases, side effects you may experience with Celebrex should be mild. However, serious side effects are possible as well, so talk with your doctor if you develop any.

You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’d like to learn more about Celebrex. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. These articles might help:

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 another 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.