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Celecoxib, Oral Capsule

Highlights for celecoxib

  1. Celecoxib oral capsule is available as a generic drug and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Celebrex.
  2. Celecoxib only comes as a capsule you take by mouth.
  3. This drug is used to treat various forms of arthritis, short-term pain, and menstrual cramps.
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Important warnings

Important warnings

FDA warnings
  • This drug has black box warnings. These are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
  • Heart risks warning. This drug is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). All NSAIDs can increase your risk of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. This risk increases the longer you use NSAIDs. It also increases if you use high doses. Your risk may be higher if you have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor before taking celecoxib if you have heart disease.
  • Coronary artery bypass graft warning. Don’t take celecoxib if you will have or have recently had a coronary artery bypass graft, or heart surgery to improve blood flow to your heart. Your risk of heart attack or stroke increases if you take celecoxib to treat pain before or after your surgery.
  • Stomach problems warning. 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 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 of these problems.
  • High blood pressure warning: This drug 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 this drug.
  • Asthma warning: Take this drug with caution if you have asthma. It may cause narrowing in your airways, which could lead to death. If your asthma worsens while you take this drug, get immediate medical attention.

About

What is celecoxib?

Celecoxib oral capsule is a prescription drug that’s available as the brand-name drug Celebrex. It’s also available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Celecoxib only comes as a capsule you take by mouth.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat:

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

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

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 this drug stop these chemicals from forming. This, in turn, reduces pain and inflammation.

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Side effects

Celecoxib side effects

Celecoxib oral capsule does not cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with celecoxib oral capsule include:

  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • respiratory tract infection

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • 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

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.

Interactions

Celecoxib may interact with other medications

Celecoxib oral capsule 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.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with celecoxib are listed below.

Blood thinner, anticoagulant

Combining warfarin and celecoxib raises your risk of bleeding.

Mental health drug

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

Blood pressure drugs

Celecoxib may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of certain blood pressure drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • antiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • diuretics

Transplant drug

Combining cyclosporine and celecoxib raises your risk of kidney damage.

Cancer drugs

Taking celecoxib with certain drugs used to treat cancer raises the risk of side effects from those drugs. These side effects include kidney damage and a decrease in cells that help you fight infection. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • methotrexate
  • pemetrexed

Other NSAIDs

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

  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • aspirin

Corticosteroids

Combining celecoxib with corticosteroids such as prednisone raises your risk of stomach bleeding.

Digoxin

If you take celecoxib with digoxin, the levels of digoxin in your body may be increased. If you take these drugs together, your doctor may monitor your digoxin levels.

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.

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Other warnings

Celecoxib warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

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

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction warning

Combining alcohol with celecoxib raises your risk of stomach bleeding.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For 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 raises your risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.

For 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.

For people with sulfonamide “sulfa” allergy: If you’re allergic to medications that contain sulfonamide, you shouldn’t take this drug. This drug contains sulfonamide. You may have serious skin reactions. Report any skin rash to your doctor right away.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: This drug falls into one of two pregnancy categories, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. For your first 30 weeks of pregnancy, it’s a category C pregnancy drug. 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, this drug 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. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

For women who are breastfeeding: This drug has been shown to pass through breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you’ll take this drug or breastfeed.

For seniors: This drug 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 stomach problems and kidney failure that may be fatal.

For children: This drug hasn’t been studied in people younger than 2 years.

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Dosage

How to take celecoxib

This dosage information is for celecoxib 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

Forms and strengths

Generic: Celecoxib 

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg

Brand: Celebrex

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg

Dosage for osteoarthritis

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The typical dosage is 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.

Dosage for rheumatoid arthritis

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The typical dosage is 100–200 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.

Child dosage (ages 2–17 years), for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

  • For children who weigh 22–55 pounds (10–25 kg), the typical dosage is 50 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.
  • For children who weigh more than 55 pounds (25 kg), the typical dosage is 100 mg taken twice per day in evenly spaced doses.

Child dosage (ages 0-1 years)

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

Dosage for ankylosing spondylitis

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

  • The typical dosage is 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.

Dosage for short-term pain

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

  • The typical dosage is 400 mg for the first dose, followed by a 200-mg dose about 8–12 hours later if needed.
  • On following days, the typical dosage 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.

Dosage for menstrual cramps

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

  • The typical dosage is 400 mg for the first dose followed by a 200-mg dose about 8–12 hours later if needed.
  • On following days, the typical dosage 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

People with 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.

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Take as directed

Take as directed

Celecoxib oral capsule may be used for short-term or long-term treatment, depending on your condition. This drug has risks if you don’t take as prescribed by your doctor.

If you stop or miss doses: If you stop taking this drug, 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 this drug is working if you experience less pain.

Important considerations

Important considerations for taking this drug

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes celecoxib oral capsule for you.

General

  • Whether you should take this drug 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 trouble 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 some water.

Storage

  • Store at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). From time to time, you can store it at temperatures between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is not refillable. You or your pharmacy will have to contact your doctor for a new prescription if you need this medication refilled.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

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 require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

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Alternatives

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.

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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