- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- What is rofecoxib, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for rofecoxib?
- Is rofecoxib available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for rofecoxib?
- What are the side effects of rofecoxib?
- What is the dosage for rofecoxib?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with rofecoxib?
- Is rofecoxib safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about rofecoxib?
What is rofecoxib, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Rofecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat pain, particularly the pain of osteoarthritis and menstrual cramps. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are important in promoting inflammation and its signs--pain, fever, swelling and tenderness. Rofecoxib blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase- 2) and thereby reduces the amounts of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation and its accompanying pain, fever, swelling and tenderness also are reduced. Rofecoxib is similar to celecoxib (Celebrex). Both drugs differ from other NSAIDs in that they cause less irritation and ulceration of the stomach and intestine (at least during short-term treatment), and they do not interfere with the clotting of blood.
What are the side effects of rofecoxib?
Although stomach and intestinal ulcers occur with the use of rofecoxib, they occur less frequently than with other NSAIDs in short-term studies. Rofecoxib does not interfere with the function of the platelets in the blood, and, as a result, it does not interfere with blood clotting and promote bleeding like other NSAIDs.
The most common side effects of rofecoxib are headache, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, diarrhea, nausea, heartburn and water retention. Other side effects include insomnia, urinary retention (inability to urinate), heart failure, aggravation of hypertension, chest pain, ringing in the ears, stomach and intestinal ulcers, bleeding, blurred vision, anxiety, weight gain, flu-like symptoms, drowsiness and weakness.
Allergic type reactions can occur with rofecoxib. Persons who have developed allergic reactions (rash, itching, difficulty breathing) from aspirin or other NSAIDs may experience an allergic reaction to rofecoxib and should not use rofecoxib.
Vioxx should be used cautiously in patients with heart disease.
Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions
What is the dosage for rofecoxib?
The lowest effective dose should be used. For the management of osteoarthritis, the usual dose is 12.5 mg (tablet or suspension) once daily. The maximum dose is 25 mg once daily. For the treatment of acute pain and menstrual cramps the usual dose is 50 mg once daily. It may be taken with or without food.
Which drugs or supplements interact with rofecoxib?
Concomitant use of rofecoxib with aspirin or other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) may increase the occurrence of stomach and intestinal ulcers. Since NSAIDs may increase the concentration of lithium in the body, lithium levels should be monitored during and after therapy with rofecoxib.
Rofecoxib may accentuate the effect of the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin (Coumadin), and promote bleeding. Persons taking warfarin should have the clotting of their blood tested, particularly during the first few days after starting or stopping rofecoxib.
Rifampin decreases the concentration of rofecoxib in the body by 50% and thus may reduce the effectiveness of rofecoxib.
Rofecoxib may increase the concentration of methotrexate by 23% and may lead to increased side effects of methotrexate. Persons taking both drugs should be closely monitored for these side effects.
Persons who drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day may be at increased risk of developing stomach ulcers when taking NSAIDs. This also may be true with rofecoxib.
Is rofecoxib safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
The use of rofecoxib in pregnant women has not been studied. In studies in rats, doses that were 10 or 28 fold higher than the recommended human dose were not harmful to fetuses; however, in studies in rabbits, doses twice the recommended dose for humans were harmful to the fetuses. Therefore, rofecoxib should be used in pregnant women only when the potential benefits outweigh the potential risk to the fetus.
The use of rofecoxib in nursing mothers has not been evaluated.
What else should I know about rofecoxib?
What preparations of rofecoxib are available?
Tablets: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, and 50mg. Oral Suspension: 12.5 mg/5 mland 25mg/5ml
How should I keep rofecoxib stored?
Store at room temperature, 15-30°C (59-86°F)
Medically reviewed by John Cunha, DO
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Related Disease Conditions
Acute injuries, medical conditions, and chronic use conditions are causes of knee pain. Symptoms and signs that accompany knee...
Lower Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae,...
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also...
Menstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Medication Disposal - What to Do with Old or Unusable Medication
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drug Withdrawn - Vioxx, A Perspective After National Arthritis Meeting
- Cox-2 Inhibitors, What's Next? - Expert Panel Votes
- National Arthritis Meeting 2004
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Daily Health News
Pain Management Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
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.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Top rofecoxib Related ArticlesComplete List
ArthritisArthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
celecoxibCelecoxib (Celebrex - Discontinued Brand) is a NSAID (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug) that is used to treat pain, arthritis pain, menstrual cramps, and colonic polyps. Celebrex is also used relief of pain, fever, swelling, and tenderness caused by osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. There are important drug interactions to review when taking Celebrex. Side effects should also be reviewed.
Drug InteractionsDrug interactions occur frequently. Get facts about the types of drug interactions, what substances or other things that may interact with drugs such as OTC drug and prescription drugs, vitamins, food(s) (grapefruit), and laboratory tests. Find out how to protect yourself from potential drug interactions.
Drugs: What You Should Know About Your DrugsImportant information about your drugs should be reviewed prior to taking any prescription drug. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precauctions, dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug is to be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
Knee Pain FactsAcute injuries, medical conditions, and chronic use conditions are causes of knee pain. Symptoms and signs that accompany knee pain include redness, swelling, difficulty walking, and locking of the knee. To diagnose knee pain, a physician will perform a physical exam and also may order X-rays, arthrocentesis, blood tests, or a CT scan or MRI. Treatment of knee pain depends upon the cause of the pain.
Low Back PainThere are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
meloxicamMeloxicam (Mobic) is a NASAID prescribed for the treatment of swelling, tenderness, and pain caused by the inflammation of arthritis conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in persons over two years of age. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Menstrual CrampsMenstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Menstrual cramps are common, and may be accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Severity of menstrual cramp pain varies from woman to woman. Treatment includes OTC or prescription pain relief medication.
OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also known as degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis can be caused by aging, heredity, and injury from trauma or disease.
Osteoarthritis PictureOsteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. See a picture of Osteoarthritis and learn more about the health topic.