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Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated May 31, 2021


What is Celebrex used for?

Celebrex (celecoxib) is part of a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), specifically a selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor. NSAIDs are used to treat various causes of pain, inflammation, and swelling.

COX inhibitors work by blocking the action of either or both the COX-1 and COX-1 enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for converting arachidonic acid into prostaglandin, which is a group of substances that regulate many cellular processes such as platelet aggregation, vasodilation, gastric mucus secretion, and proinflammatory mediators.

Celebrex is mainly indicated to treat the following conditions:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Dysmenorrhea

How should I take Celebrex?

Celebrex is available as an oral capsule. The oral capsule should be taken by mouth without chewing or crushing it. If you have trouble taking capsule whole, you can uncap the capsule and sprinkle the powder onto soft food such as oatmeal, applesauce, or yogurt. Celebrex should be taken with food to prevent gastric irritation.

How do I store Celebrex?

This drug should be stored at room temperature (<25°C) and be protected from light and moisture. Do not store it in the refrigerator or freezer. For safety, keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Always check the label before using this product. Do not use if the printed expiration date has passed, the product seal has been broken, or the product has changed in color, odor, or consistency.

Do not dispose of this product by pouring it down the drain, toilet, or into the environment. Ask your pharmacist regarding the proper way and location of disposal.

Precautions and warnings

What should I know before using Celebrex?

NSAIDs, including Celebrex, are associated with an increased risk of bleeding and gastric ulceration. This risk is further increased in older patients usually over 60 years of age, those taking blood thinners, and those with blood clotting disorders.

Some groups of people with conditions like asthma or allergic rhinitis may experience an exacerbation of symptoms after using NSAIDs.

Before using this medication, inform your doctor if:

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to Celebrex or other NSAIDs
  • You have a history of allergy to other medications, food, or other substances
  • You are taking other medications, especially other NSAIDs and blood thinners
  • You have underlying health conditions

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

This drug is not recommended for use during pregnancy and is contraindicated for use during the 3rd trimester. This drug should be used during pregnancy (until the 30th week) only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.

Celecoxib may be associated with reversible infertility. If you are planning to become pregnant or have known fertility issues, consider discontinuing Celebrex until after pregnancy.

This drug may be excreted in breast milk. This drug should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.

Side effects

What side effects can occur when using Celebrex?

All drugs have the potential to elicit side effects even with normal use. Many side effects are dose-related and will resolve when it is adjusted or at the end of therapy.

Potential side effects while using this drug include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia
  • Flatulence
  • Peripheral edema
  • Accidental injury
  • Dizziness
  • Pharyngitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above. If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Celebrex?

This drug may interact with other medications. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and inform your doctor and pharmacist.

Known drugs and their interactions with Celebrex include:

  • Other NSAIDs
    • GI distress
    • Ulceration
  • Salicylates
    • GI distress
  • Anticoagulants
    • Prolonged bleeding
  • Corticosteroids
    • GI bleeding
  • Diuretics
    • Decreased sodium excretion
  • Methotrexate
    • Increased toxicity
  • Antihypertensives
    • Decreased control of blood pressure
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
    • GI bleeding
  • Digoxin
    • Increased concentration and half-life of digoxin
  • CYP2C9 inhibitors (e.g. fluconazole)
    • Increased risk of toxicity
  • If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication. Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.

    Does food or alcohol interact with Celebrex?

    The absorption rate is slightly decreased with food (high-fat meals), however, taking it with a meal prevents gastrointestinal distress. This drug should not be taken with alcohol as it may increase the risk of gastrointestinal ulceration, bleeding, and hepatotoxicity.

    Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.

    What health conditions may interact with Celebrex?

    This drug should be taken with caution if you have any of the following conditions or risk factors:

    • Active bronchial asthma
    • Uncontrolled hypertension
    • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
    • Other cardiovascular diseases
    • Gastrointestinal diseases
      • Peptic ulcer disease (PUD)
      • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
    • Conditions that require surgery
    • Renal or hepatic impairment
    • Women with fertility issues or are undergoing treatment
    • Elderly patients over the age of 60
    • CYP2C9 poor metabolizers

    Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.


    The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Celebrex.

    What is the dose of Celebrex for an adult?

    For osteoarthritis

    • Take 200 mg once a day or 100 mg 2 times a day.

    For rheumatoid arthritis

    • Take 100 mg to 200 mg per day.

    For ankylosing spondylitis

    • Take 200 mg once a day or 100 mg 2 times a day.

    For primary dysmenorrhea

    • Take an initial dose of 400 mg, followed by an additional dose of 200 mg if needed on the first day. Take 200 mg 2 times a day for subsequent days.

    What is the dose of Celebrex for a child?

    For juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

    • Ages 2 years and above (based on body weight):
      • 10 kg to 25 kg: give 50 mg 2 times a day.
      • >25 kg: give 100 mg 2 times a day.
    • Note: patients who are unable to swallow capsules, the capsule may be opened. Sprinkle the contents in the capsule over a teaspoon of soft food such as apple sauce or yogurt. This mixture is stable for up to 6 hours in the refrigerator (at 2 to 8°C).

    How is Celebrex available?

    This drug is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

    • Celebrex (celecoxib) capsules 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, 400 mg

    What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

    In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

    What should I do if I miss a dose?

    If you miss a dose of this drug, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Written by

    Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


    Updated May 31, 2021

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