Celebrex is an anti-inflammatory painkiller prescribed for arthritis.
What is celecoxib used for?
Celecoxib is used to reduce inflammation and pain in the following arthritic conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- A form of arthritis affecting the joints of the spine (ankylosing spondylitis).
How does celecoxib work?
- Celecoxib a type of medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by blocking the action of an enzyme in the body called cyclo-oxygenase (COX).
- COX is involved in making substances in the body known as prostaglandins, in response to injury and in conditions like arthritis. The prostaglandins cause pain, swelling and inflammation. Celecoxib reduces inflammation and pain by reducing the production of these prostaglandins.
- Celecoxib will start to relieve pain after a single dose, but its anti-inflammatory effect builds up over a few weeks of taking it regularly.
- Celecoxib belongs to a newer generation of NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors. These are less likely than the older NSAIDs (eg naproxen and diclofenac) to irritate the gut and cause side effects such as stomach ulcers.
Can I drive while taking celecoxib?
- Celecoxib may cause dizziness, drowsiness or visual disturbances. Don't drive or operate machinery until you know how celecoxib affects you and you are sure it won't affect your performance.
Can I drink alcohol with celecoxib?
- It's usually fine to drink alcohol in moderation if you're taking celecoxib. Just be aware that taking celecoxib in high doses or for long periods of time can still carry a risk of irritating the stomach lining (see below), and drinking alcohol above the daily recommended limit can increase this risk.
What should I look out for?
- Celecoxib may mask the signs and symptoms of infection, such as fever and inflammation, so you might think an infection is getting better when it isn't, or that an infection is less serious than it is. Tell your doctor if you get an infection while you are taking celecoxib.
- Although COX-2 inhibitors like celecoxib are less likely than traditional NSAIDs to cause serious side effects on the gut, such as ulceration or bleeding in the stomach or intestines, these side effects are still possible, particularly in elderly people. For this reason, you should stop taking celecoxib and consult your doctor immediately if you get any sign of bleeding in your gut, for example vomiting blood and/or passing black/tarry/bloodstained stools.