From Our Archives

New Arthritis Drug - Celebrex

Celebrex is a new medication for the treatment of the inflammation and pain of the two most common forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Celebrex is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), however, it is unique in its biologic action compared to previously available drugs of this class.

This article will describe the action of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and some of the unique properties of Celebrex. It will then conclude with an in-depth interview of the chief scientist involved in the development and testing of Celebrex.

BACKGROUND

What are NSAIDs?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed medications for the inflammation of arthritis and other body tissues, such as in tendonitis and bursitis. Examples of NSAIDs include Aspirin, indomethacin (Indocin), ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), and nabumetone (Relafen). The major side effects of NSAIDs are related to the gastrointestinal system. Some 10%-50% of patients are unable to tolerate NSAID treatment because of side effects, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, heartburn, and upset stomach (dyspepsia). Approximately 15% of patients on long- term NSAID treatment develop ulceration of the stomach and duodenum. Even though many of these patients with ulcers do not have symptoms and are unaware of their ulcers, they are at risk of developing serious ulcer complications such as bleeding or perforation of the stomach.