Celebrex contains the active ingredient, celecoxib, which is a Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor. It is a Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) used to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
An important group of hormones called prostaglandins are produced locally in the body when an injury or disease arises. The prostaglandins act as signals to control several different processes depending on the part of the body in which they are made. Prostaglandins are made at sites of tissue damage or infection, where they cause inflammation, pain and fever as part of the healing process. Prostaglandins are also involved in the formation and breakdown of blood clots as well as helping to regulate the contraction and relaxation of muscles in the gut and airways. They also regulate the female reproductive cycle and kick-start labour.
The chemical reaction that makes the prostaglandins involves several steps; the first step is carried out by an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). There are two main types of this enzyme: COX-1 and COX-2. When the body is functioning normally, baseline levels of prostaglandins are produced by the action of COX-1. When the body is injured (or inflammation occurs in any area of the body), COX-2 is activated and produces extra prostaglandins, which help the body to respond to the injury.
Prostaglandins are normally very short-lived and are broken down quickly by the body. They only carry out their actions in the immediate vicinity of where they are produced; this helps to regulate and limit their actions. However this natural response can sometimes lead to excess and long-term production of prostaglandins that contribute to diseases such as arthritis. The COX-2 inhibitor, Celebrex, reduces the level of prostaglandins thus reducing pain and inflammation.
Before you start taking celecoxib, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack that will give you more information about celecoxib and its possible effects.
There are two strengths of Celebrex capsule available, 100 mg and 200 mg. The usual dose is one capsule, taken once or twice daily. Try to take your doses at the same time each day.
Swallow the capsule with a drink of water. Swallow it whole - do not chew it or open it. It is not important whether you take your doses before or after meals.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The list below contains some of the most common ones associated with celecoxib. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome:
- Feeling dizzy
- Indigestion, wind, abdominal pain
- High blood pressure
- Swollen ankles
- Fluid retention
- Flu-like symptoms
- Chest or urinary infections
- Difficulty sleeping
Important: if you experience any of the following less common but more serious symptoms, stop taking celecoxib and contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- Breathing difficulties such as wheeze or breathlessness.
- Any signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling around your mouth or face, or a severe itchy skin rash.
- Passing blood or black stools, vomit blood, or have abdominal pains.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking celecoxib, it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder
- If you have had a stomach or duodenal ulcer, or if you have an inflammatory bowel disorder such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding
- If you are over 65 years of age
- If you have liver or kidney problems
- If you have a heart condition, or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation
- If you have high blood pressure
- If you have ever had blood clotting problems
- If you have a connective tissue disorder, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (an inflammatory condition also called lupus, or SLE).
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have had a bad reaction to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, naproxen, diclofenac, and indomethacin), or if you are allergic to a sulfonamide medicine (used to treat infection).
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet