Celebrex, an NSAID, is used for pain, swelling and stiffness connected with arthritis. Can provide 24-hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation.

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Pharmacist Teresa Brucker, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Celebrex
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Pharmacist Teresa Brucker, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Celebrex
Pharmacist Nazley Mohammadi, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the NSAID class of medications

Celebrex Overview


Celebrex is a prescription medication used to treat pain, arthritis, and painful menstrual periods. Celebrex belongs to a group of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These work by blocking chemicals in the body that cause pain and inflammation.

Celebrex comes in capsule form and is taken by mouth, once or twice daily, with or without food.

Common side effects include stomach pain, upset stomach, and diarrhea.

How was your experience with Celebrex?

First, a little about yourself

Tell us about yourself in a few words?

What tips would you provide a friend before taking Celebrex?

What are you taking Celebrex for?

Choose one
  • Other
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Osteoarthritis

How long have you been taking it?

Choose one
  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did Celebrex work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend Celebrex to a friend?

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Celebrex Cautionary Labels


Uses of Celebrex

Celebrex is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) available by prescription only. It is used for relief of the signs and symptoms of:

  • osteoarthritis (OA)
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA)
  • ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
  • short-term pain (acute pain) in adults
  • painful menstruation

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Celebrex Drug Class

Celebrex is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Celebrex

Celebrex can cause serious side effects. See "Drug Precautions" section.

Common Celebrex side effects include:

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • upset stomach
  • gas or bloating
  • nausea
  • cough
  • upper respiratory infection

This is not a complete list of Celebrex side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Celebrex Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • warfarin (Coumadin) and other "blood thinners" or anticoagulants
  • aspirin
  • other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik)
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) such as azilsartan (Edarbi), candesartan (Atacand), eposartan (Teveten), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), olmesartan (Benicar), telmisartan (Micardis), valsartan (Diovan)
  • certain antidepressants (mood elevators)
  • atazanavir (Reyataz)
  • oral steroids
  • clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • codeine (in some cough medications and some pain medications)
  • dextromethorphan (in some cough medications)
  • diuretics ('water pills')
  • efavirenz (Sustiva)
  • fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • fluvastatin (Lescol)
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
  • certain medications for mental illness
  • metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
  • metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • mexiletine (Mexitil)
  • ondansetron (Zofran)
  • propafenone (Rhythmol)
  • ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra)
  • sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
  • sulfinpyrazone (Anturane)
  • tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
  • timolol (Blocadren, Timolide, in some eye drops)
  • tramadol (Ultram)
  • zafirlukast (Accolate)

This is not a complete list of Celebrex drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Celebrex Precautions

Celebrex may cause serious side effects including:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure from body swelling (fluid retention)
  • kidney problems including kidney failure
  • bleeding and ulcers in the stomach and intestine
  • low red blood cells (anemia)
  • life-threatening skin reactions
  • life-threatening allergic reactions
  • liver problems including liver failure
  • asthma attacks in people who have asthma

Get emergency help right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • chest pain
  • weakness in one part or side of your body
  • slurred speech
  • swelling of the face or throat

Stop taking Celebrex and call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • nausea
  • more tired or weaker than usual
  • itching
  • your skin or eyes look yellow
  • stomach pain
  • flu-like symptoms
  • vomit blood
  • there is blood in your bowel movement or it is black and sticky like tar
  • skin rash or blisters with fever
  • unusual weight gain
  • swelling of the arms and legs, hands and feet

Celebrex and other NSAID medicines should only be used:

  • exactly as prescribed
  • at the lowest dose possible for your treatment
  • for the shortest time needed

Do not take an NSAID medicine:

  • if you had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reaction with aspirin or any other NSAID medicine
  • for pain right before or after heart bypass surgery

Celebrex Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Celebrex there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Celebrex.

Inform MD

Before receiving Celebrex, tell your healthcare provider:

  • about all of your medical conditions.
  • about all of the medicines you take. NSAIDs and some other medicines can interact with each other and cause serious side effects. Keep a list of your medicines to show to your healthcare provider and pharmacist.
  • if you are pregnant. NSAID medicines should not be used by pregnant women late in their pregnancy.
  • if you are breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor.

Celebrex and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
This medication falls into category C, then category D from 30 weeks of gestation onward. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child. In addition, use of Celebrex during the third trimester of pregnancy should be avoided.

Celebrex and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Celebrex may be excreted in human milk in low amounts. The manufacturer recommends breastfeeding women use caution when taking Celebrex. You and your doctor will need to decide it is safe for you to take Celebrex while breastfeeding.

Celebrex Usage

  • Take Celebrex capsules by mouth at the same time each day.
  • Celebrex is usually taken once or twice daily.
  • This medication can be taken with or without food. 
  • Swallow Celebrex capsules whole. Do not break, chew, or crush capsules.
  • For people who have difficulty swallowing capsules, the contents of a Celebrex capsule can be added to applesauce. Carefully empty the entire capsule contents onto a level teaspoon of cool or room temperature applesauce and swallow right away with water.
  • To get the most benefit from Celebrex, take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking Celebrex without discussing it with your doctor.

Celebrex Dosage


For relief of the signs and symptoms of OA the recommended oral dose is 200 mg per day administered as a single dose or as 100 mg twice daily. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

For relief of the signs and symptoms of RA the recommended oral dose is 100 to 200 mg twice daily.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

For the relief of the signs and symptoms of JRA the recommended oral dose for pediatric patients (age 2 years and older) is based on weight. For patients ≥10 kg to ≤25 kg the recommended dose is 50 mg twice daily. For patients >25 kg the recommended dose is 100 mg twice daily.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

For the management of the signs and symptoms of AS, the recommended dose of Celebrex is 200 mg daily in single (once per day) or divided (twice per day) doses. If no effect is observed after 6 weeks, a trial of 400 mg daily may be worthwhile. If no effect is observed after 6 weeks on 400 mg daily, a response is not likely and consideration should be given to alternate treatment options.

Management of Acute Pain and Treatment of Primary Dysmenorrhea

The recommended dose of Celebrex is 400 mg initially, followed by an additional 200 mg dose if needed on the first day. On subsequent days, the recommended dose is 200 mg twice daily as needed.


Celebrex Overdose

If you take too much Celebrex call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If Celebrex is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store this medication in the original, tightly sealed container. Keep Celebrex at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture.
  • Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.

Celebrex FDA Warning


Cardiovascular Risk

  • This medication may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. All nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may have a similar risk. This risk may increase with duration of use. Patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease may be at greater risk. 
  • Celebrex is contraindicated for the treatment of peri-operative pain in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. 

Gastrointestinal Risk

  • NSAIDs, including Celebrex, cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients are at greater risk for serious gastrointestinal events.