celecoxib, Celebrex

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

GENERIC NAME: celecoxib

BRAND NAME: Celebrex

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Celecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat arthritis, pain, menstrual cramps, and colonic polyps. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are important contributors to the inflammation of arthritis that causes pain, fever, swelling and tenderness. Celecoxib blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase 2), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation and its accompanying pain, fever, swelling and tenderness are reduced. Celecoxib differs from other NSAIDs in that it causes less inflammation and ulceration of the stomach and intestine (at least with short-term use) and does not interfere with the clotting of blood.

NSAIDs have been found to prevent the formation and reduce the size of polyps in patients with the genetic disease, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). In FAP, patients develop large numbers of polyps in their colons, and the polyps invariably become malignant. The only cure of FAP is removal of the entire colon. Celecoxib is approved as an adjunctive (secondary) treatment among patients with FAP. The cramping and pain during menstrual periods is due to prostaglandins, and blocking the production of prostaglandins with celecoxib reduces the cramps and pain. The FDA approved celecoxib in December 1998.

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Capsules: 50, 100, 200, and 400 mg

STORAGE: Capsules should be stored between 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Celecoxib is used for the rellef of pain, fever, swelling, and tenderness caused by osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Celecoxib does not prevent the progression of either type of arthritis. It reduces only the symptoms and signs of arthritis. Celecoxib is also approved for patients with familial FAP who have not had their colons removed. Celebrex also is also used for the relief of acute pain and the pain of menstrual cramps (primary dysmenorrhea).

DOSING: The lowest effective dose should be used for each patient.

  • For the management of osteoarthritis, the dose usually is 100 mg twice daily or 200 mg as a single dose.
  • For rheumatoid arthritis, the dose usually is 200 mg twice daily.
  • For acute pain or menstrual cramps, the dose is 400 mg as a single dose on the first day followed by an additional 200 mg if needed, then 200 mg twice daily as needed.
  • For FAP, the recommended dose is 400 mg twice daily.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Concomitant use of celecoxib with aspirin or other NSAIDs (for example, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) may increase the occurrence of stomach and intestinal ulcers. It may be used with low dose aspirin.

Fluconazole (Diflucan) increases the concentration of celecoxib in the body by preventing the elimination of celecoxib in the liver. Therefore, treatment with celecoxib should be initiated at the lowest recommended doses in patients who are taking fluconazole.

Celecoxib increases the concentration of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) in the blood by 17% and may promote lithium toxicity. Therefore, lithium therapy should be closely monitored during and after therapy with celecoxib.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/1/2014



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Finder Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.


Back to Medications Index