Generic Name: celecoxib, Oral capsule

Celebrex

All Brands

  • Celebrex
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for celecoxib

Oral capsule
1

Celecoxib is an oral medication used to treat various forms of arthritis, short-term pain, and menstrual cramps.

2

Celecoxib dosage is based on your age and the condition you’re treating. You should use the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time.

3

Don’t take celecoxib if you have a history of heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, or if you have a history of stomach bleeding. Don’t use it following heart surgery.

4

Common side effects include stomach pain, diarrhea, upset stomach, gas, swelling in your hands or feet, and dizziness.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Heart risks. Don’t take celecoxib if you have heart disease or risks for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or a family history of heart problems. This medication may increase your risk of having a blood clot, heart attack, and stroke, which may be fatal.

Coronary artery bypass graft. Don’t take celecoxib if you’re having or have recently had heart surgery to improve blood flow to your heart (coronary artery bypass graft). Your risk of heart attack or stroke may increase if you take celecoxib to treat pain before or after your surgery.

Stomach problems. Don’t use celecoxib if you have current stomach bleeding or a history of stomach ulcers. Taking celecoxib increases your risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers, or creating small holes in the lining of your stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These may occur at any time without any warning symptoms. If you’re 65 years or older, you’re at higher risk.

High blood pressure warning

Celecoxib may cause you to develop high blood pressure or may worsen high blood pressure. Take this medication with caution if you have high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure before and while taking celecoxib.

Asthma warning

Take celecoxib with caution if you have asthma. It may cause narrowing in your airway, which could lead to death. If your asthma worsens while taking celecoxib, get immediate medical attention.

Drug Features

Celecoxib is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral capsule.

Why It's Used

Celecoxib is used to treat:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • osteoarthritis
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • short-term pain
  • menstrual cramps

How It Works

Celecoxib can reduce inflammation and pain.

Celecoxib belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs block an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). COX works in your body to produce chemicals that cause pain and inflammation. By blocking COX, NSAIDs like celecoxib stop these chemicals from forming.

SECTION 2 of 4

celecoxib Side Effects

Oral capsule

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with celecoxib include:

  • stomach pain

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • gas

  • heartburn

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • dizziness

  • headache

  • respiratory tract infection

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • chest pain or heart attack

  • stroke. Symptoms may include:

    • sudden weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
    • drooping on one side of your face
    • blurred vision
    • sudden dizziness or trouble walking
    • very severe headache with no other cause
  • high blood pressure

  • edema. Symptoms may include:

    • swelling in your arms and legs, hands and feet
    • unusual weight gain
  • bleeding and ulcers in your stomach and intestine. Symptoms may include:

    • blood in urine
    • vomiting
    • bloody stools
    • black and sticky stools
  • skin reactions, including rash or blisters

  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • itching and hives
    • swelling of your face or throat
  • liver problems. Symptoms may include yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes.

  • asthma attacks

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Celecoxib does not cause drowsiness.

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

celecoxib May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Celecoxib may interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol Interaction

Combining alcohol with celecoxib increases your risk of stomach bleeding.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Blood thinner, anticoagulant
  • warfarin 

Combining warfarin and celecoxib increases your risk of bleeding.

Mental health drug
  • lithium 

Celecoxib may increase the levels of lithium in your body. Signs of lithium toxicity include slurred speech and tremors.

Blood pressure drugs
  • ACE inhibitors
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers

Celecoxib may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of these drugs.

Other NSAIDs

Celecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Combining it with other NSAIDs increases your risk of side effects. 

Examples are:

  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • aspirin

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with heart disease

If you have a history of heart disease or are at risk for heart disease, you shouldn’t take celecoxib. It may increase your risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.

People with stomach problems

If you have a history of stomach bleeding or ulcers, you’re at greater risk of having another ulcer or bleeding event, which may be fatal.

People with sulfonamide “sulfa” allergy

If you’re allergic to medications that contain sulfonamide, you shouldn’t take celecoxib. Celecoxib contains sulfonamide. You may have serious skin reactions. Report any skin rash to your doctor immediately.

Pregnant women

Celecoxib falls into one of two pregnancy categories, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

It’s a category C pregnancy drug up to 30 weeks of pregnancy. This category means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus. 

After 30 weeks of pregnancy, celecoxib is a category D pregnancy drug. For this category: 

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. The benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy may outweigh the potential risks in certain cases.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Celecoxib should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are nursing

Celecoxib has been shown to pass through breast milk.

You and your doctor should decide if you’ll take celecoxib or breastfeed.

For Seniors

Celecoxib has been studied in a small number of people older than 65 years. If you’re 65 years or older, you may have increased risk of potentially fatal stomach problems and kidney failure.

For Children

Celecoxib hasn’t been studied in people younger than 2 years.

Allergies

Celecoxib can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take celecoxib (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Osteoarthritis

Brand: Celebrex

Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

200 mg taken once per day or 100 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special Considerations

Liver Disease: Having liver disease may reduce your ability to clear this drug from your body, which could lead to more side effects. If you have moderate liver disease, your daily dose of celecoxib may be reduced by half. If you have severe liver disease, you shouldn’t take this medication.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Brand: Celebrex

Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

100–200 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.

Child Dosage (ages 2-17 years) - Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • For people who weigh 22–55 pounds (10–25 kg), the dose is 50 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.
  • For people who weigh more than 55 pounds (25 kg), the dose is 100 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.
Child Dosage (ages 0-1 years)

Dosage hasn’t been established for people younger than 2 years.

Special Considerations

Liver Disease: Having liver disease may reduce your ability to clear this drug from your body, which could lead to more side effects. If you have moderate liver disease, your daily dose of celecoxib may be reduced by half. If you have severe liver disease, you shouldn’t take this medication.

Ankylosing spondylitis

Brand: Celebrex

Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • 200 mg taken once per day or 100 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.
  • If celecoxib isn’t working after 6 weeks, your doctor may try 400 mg per day (single or divided doses).
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special Considerations

Liver Disease: Having liver disease may reduce your ability to clear this drug from your body, which could lead to more side effects. If you have moderate liver disease, your daily dose of celecoxib may be reduced by half. If you have severe liver disease, you shouldn’t take this medication.

Short-term pain

Brand: Celebrex

Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • 400 mg for the first dose followed by a 200-mg dose about 8–12 hours later if needed.
  • On following days, the dose is 200 mg taken twice per day as needed.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special Considerations

Liver Disease: Having liver disease may reduce your ability to clear this drug from your body, which could lead to more side effects. If you have moderate liver disease, your daily dose of celecoxib may be reduced by half. If you have severe liver disease, you shouldn’t take this medication.

Menstrual cramps

Brand: Celebrex

Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • 400 mg for the first dose followed by a 200-mg dose about 8–12 hours later if needed.
  • On following days, the dose is 200 mg taken twice per day as needed.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special Considerations

Liver Disease: Having liver disease may reduce your ability to clear this drug from your body, which could lead to more side effects. If you have moderate liver disease, your daily dose of celecoxib may be reduced by half. If you have severe liver disease, you shouldn’t take this medication.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Celecoxib has risks if you don’t take as prescribed by your doctor.

If You Stop or Miss Doses

If you stop taking celecoxib, miss doses, or don’t take it on schedule, you may experience more pain caused by your condition.

If You Take Too Much

Taking too much increases your risk of experiencing side effects.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss your dose, take it as soon as you can. However, if it’s just a few hours until your next dose, skip the missed dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell celecoxib is working if you experience less pain.

Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Drug?

Celecoxib may be taken short term or long term, depending on your condition.

Taking with food depends on your dosage

If you take 400 mg of celecoxib twice per day, you should take it with food for better drug absorption.

If you take up to 200 mg celecoxib twice per day, you can take it with or without food.

You can open the capsule if you need to

If you have difficulty swallowing the capsule, you can open it and sprinkle the contents onto a level teaspoon of cool or room temperature applesauce. Eat the applesauce immediately along with water.

Store at room temperature, or 77°F (25°C)

Keep it away from light and high temperatures.

Note: Keep your medications away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store them away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to security officials. Keep the original prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor will check your blood pressure before and during treatment with celecoxib. 

Your doctor may also do blood tests to check how well your liver and kidneys are functioning during treatment.

Sun Sensitivity

You may be more sensitive to sunlight if you take celecoxib. Protect yourself from the sun: 

  • Wear sun-protective clothing.
  • Use sunscreen—SPF 15 or higher.
  • Limit your time in direct sunlight.
  • Avoid tanning beds.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for celecoxib.

What does the pill look like?

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Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 4, 2015

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Disclaimer: Healthline 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.

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