Patient guide to medication

What is celecoxib?

Celecoxib (pronounced se le KOKS ib) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has been prescribed by your doctor to relieve or prevent your pain. Celecoxib is available as an oral tablet. Another name you may see on the prescription label is Celebrex.

What is it used for?

Celecoxib is used for the management of acute pain in adults, pain associated with menstrual cramps, and to treat the pain of arthritis including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children over two
  • Ankylosing spondylosis

How do I take this medication?

Ask your pharmacist and follow the instructions on the prescription bottle. Take celecoxib exactly as it is prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller doses or for longer than recommended.

Celecoxib may be taken at any time without regard to meals, particularly with lower doses (such as up to 200 mg twice daily). Higher doses (such as 400 mg twice daily) should be taken with food to reduced stomach upset. If you have difficulty swallowing tablets, the contents of a celecoxib capsule can be emptied onto a level teaspoon of cool or room temperature applesauce and ingested immediately with water (Table).

Is this drug safe?

You should talk to your doctor before taking celecoxib to ensure that it is the right drug for you. Common side effects of celecoxib include ankle swelling/edema, dizziness, headache, insomnia, skin rash, stomach or abdominal upset or pain, cough or respiratory infections. Celecoxib may cause or worsen high blood pressure.

While taking celecoxib you should avoid drinking alcohol because it may increase your risk of stomach bleeding. You should also avoid using celecoxib in combination with other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), diclofenac (Arthrotec, Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren) and others. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking other cold, allergy or pain medications, as they may contain medications similar to celecoxib.

Celecoxib should not be used if you have a history of allergic reaction to aspirin, sulfa drugs or other NSAIDs. If taken for long periods of time, celecoxib can cause increased risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attack. Celecoxib may also have serious effects on the stomach and intestines, including bleeding and ulcers. These conditions can occur without warning and can be life threatening. Your doctor will schedule a follow up appointment after you begin taking celecoxib and routine followups afterward to check for these conditions.

How do I know if it’s working?

If you are taking celecoxib for pain, you should experience relief, however, it may take up to two weeks for you to notice a significant improvement. If your pain does not subside, you may want to call your doctor to determine if you need a larger dose of celecoxib or a different medication. Do not increase your dose of celecoxib unless your doctor advises you to do so.

How do I know if something is wrong?

You should stop taking celecoxib and seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms such as chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech or difficulty with vision or balance.

Celecoxib can have serious effects on the stomach and intestines. You should call your doctor immediately if you experience black, bloody or tarry stools or you cough up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds. You should also call your doctor if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction such as rash, hives, or swelling.

How do I store my medication?

Celecoxib should be stored in a cool, dry, safe place such as a nightstand. Do not store celecoxib in a humid place such as the kitchen or bathroom. All medications should be stored in a location in your house that is out of reach of pets and children.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

If you are taking celecoxib on a regular dosing schedule, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. You should skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. You should never take extra medicine to make up a missed dose.


Updated on: 02/09/16
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