by on April 21, 2012
Brand Names:Celebrex
Generic name:celecoxib
Pregnancy Category:C
Half-life:11 hours

What is Celebrex?

The prescription medicine Celebrex (celecoxib) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used in the treatment of certain inflammatory conditions.  It is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and works by inhibiting a specific enzyme that triggers inflammation and pain.

In 1998, Celebrex (celecoxib) became the first U.S. FDA-approved medication under the new class of NSAIDs called COX-2 selective inhibitors. It is a long-awaited treatment option for people suffering from bothersome arthritis symptoms. Unlike other NSAIDs that usually cause gastrointestinal side effects, Celebrex hopes to lessen, if not eliminate, these side effects.

The dosage form of Celebrex is oral capsules, which are available in the following strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg and 400 mg.  Depending on what the drug is being taken for, adult patients take a daily dose of either  200 mg or 400 mg. Juvenile Celebrex users take a daily dose of either 100 mg or 200 mg depending on their weight. The daily dose can be taken all at once or split into two. For  example, a patient can choose to take one 200 mg capsule a day or two 100 mg capsules a day.

Currently, this medication is exclusively manufactured and distributed by Pfizer in the United States. Celecoxib is not available as a generic drug.

Celebrex Uses

Celebrex is used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), ankylosing spondylitis,  acute pain and primary dysmenorrhea.  It helps relieve arthritis symptoms such as fever, tenderness, joint swelling, joint pain and stiffness. However, Celebrex does not prevent the progression of arthritic diseases. It only relieves the symptoms of arthritis.  In clinical studies, patients who took Celebrex for osteoarthritis noticed an improvement in daily physical function.  celebrexPeople experiencing acute or menstrual pain (primary dysmenorrheal) found that a single dose of Celebrex provided rapid relief. Patients taking the drug for ankylosing spondylitis also noticed a reduction in pain and inflammation.  It may also be used for managing pain post-surgery in some patients.

Celebrex may also be prescribed as an adjunctive treatment in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) – a genetic condition that is characterized by abnormal growth of polyps in the large intestines and rectum which can lead to cancer. Studies show that NSAIDs inhibit the growth of polyps and reduce the number of polyps.

How Does Celebrex Work?

Celebrex is an NSAID that belongs to the COX-2 inhibitor class. Drugs under this classification work by inhibiting the production of an enzyme called Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). COX-2 is one of the many enzymes that trigger formation of prostaglandin which is thought to be the cause of inflammation and its accompanying symptoms (pain, swelling, fever and tenderness). The reduction in prostaglandins results in reduced inflammation and pain. This makes Celebrex an ideal treatment option for various arthritic conditions and menstrual cramps.

Unlike other NSAIDs, Celebrex causes less gastrointestinal side effects, particularly inflammation and ulceration of the stomach, and does not affect blood clotting.

Important Things To Remember When Taking Celebrex

  • Read the prescription label before initiating treatment. If you do not understand the prescription or have any questions, consult your healthcare provider.
  • Take Celebrex exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not increase the dose unless instructed by your physician.
  • Seek emergency medical assistance if you experience body weakness, chest pain, problems with balance or vision, shortness of breath, or slurred speech.
  • Celebrex may lead to life-threatening cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, especially patients on long term drug use. Do not take Celebrex prior to or after heart bypass surgery.
  • Watch out for any signs of gastrointestinal bleeding or perforation, especially for elderly patients. These are serious conditions that must be given immediate medical intervention.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you notice signs of gastrointestinal bleeding such as black, tarry or bloody stools, and/or coughing up blood or vomiting coffee ground stomach contents.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol while on Celebrex treatment. Mixing alcohol with this drug increases your risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Discuss with your healthcare provider the drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter medications) that you normally take. Avoid using other NSAIDs without consulting your healthcare provider.