Celebrex (celecoxib)

Medically Reviewed By Brittany A. Duke, PharmD, RPh

This drug has boxed warnings, the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Risk of serious cardiovascular problems. Celebrex belongs to a drug class called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Taking an NSAID such as Celebrex can increase your risk of serious or life threatening cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke. Your risk of these problems can increase soon after you start taking an NSAID.

Risk of serious gastrointestinal problems. Taking an NSAID such as Celebrex can increase your risk of serious or life threatening gastrointestinal problems. These problems include ulcers, bleeding, and perforations (tears) in your esophagus, stomach, or intestine. Your risk of these problems can increase soon after you start taking an NSAID.

For more information about these risks, see the “ Celebrex: Precautions” section below.

About Celebrex

Celebrex is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the following uses.

In adults osteoarthritis
rheumatoid arthritis
ankylosing spondylitis
• acute (short-term) pain, such as back pain
• primary dysmenorrhea (period pain)
In children ages 2 years and older juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

For details about these conditions and how the drug treats them, see the “Celebrex: Uses” section below.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Celebrex.

Active drug celecoxib
Drug classification nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Form oral capsule

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Celebrex: Generic

Celebrex is a brand-name medication. It contains the active drug celecoxib, which also comes in a generic form. A generic is an identical copy of the active drug found in a brand-name medication.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that generic drugs are as safe and effective as their original drug. Generics tend to be less expensive than brand-name drugs.

If you’d like to know about taking the generic version of Celebrex, ask your doctor or pharmacist. They can tell you if the generic medication comes in forms and strengths recommended for your condition.

Celebrex: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Celebrex. These can include some mild side effects, but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Celebrex’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks and reviews side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Celebrex, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Celebrex are listed below. This article does not include all of Celebrex’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Celebrex may include:

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

* This is not a complete list of Celebrex’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† To learn more about allergic reaction, see below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects of Celebrex may include:

Serious side effects from Celebrex aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information about this side effect, see “Celebrex: Precautions” below.
† To learn more about allergic reaction, see below.

Celebrex’s side effects in children

Doctors prescribe Celebrex to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children ages 2 years and older.

Celebrex’s side effects in children are generally similar to its side effects in adults. However, in certain children, Celebrex may cause a rare side effect called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

With DIC, blood clots develop in blood vessels throughout the body. The blood clots can reduce blood flow to vital organs. They also use up the body’s platelets and clotting factors, which increases the risk of bleeding. (Platelets and clotting factors are parts of the blood that help clots to form.) The condition can be life threatening.

DIC has only been reported in children with systemic-onset rheumatoid arthritis. This rare form of juvenile arthritis usually starts with a fever and rash. If your child has this form of arthritis, their doctor will likely order blood tests to monitor their blood clotting while they take Celebrex.

It’s not known if it’s safe for children to take Celebrex for long periods of time. The drug hasn’t been studied for longer than 6 months in children. Talk with your doctor if you’d like to know more about Celebrex’s side effects in children.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Celebrex. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Celebrex, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Celebrex: Uses

Prescription drugs such as Celebrex are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions. Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs off-label for other conditions. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Using Celebrex for acute pain, such as back pain

The FDA has approved Celebrex to treat acute pain in adults. Acute pain refers to short-term pain. Examples of acute pain include:

  • migraine
  • back pain
  • pain following an injury, such as a fracture or sprain
  • pain following surgery
  • gout

Celebrex is an anti-inflammatory drug, so it’s especially useful for helping relieve acute pain where inflammation is involved.

Using Celebrex for osteoarthritis

The FDA has approved Celebrex to treat osteoarthritis (OA) in adults.

OA is a degenerative disease that develops when the cartilage in a joint begins to wear down. It causes the ends of your bones to rub together when the joint is moved. To compensate, the joint may produce more fluid to protect the bones, which can make the joint swell. As the disease progresses, lumps called spurs can develop on the bones. These spurs can irritate the surrounding tissue.

OA can develop in any joint, but it usually affects the knees, hips, or hands. With OA, you can have:

  • pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint
  • swelling in the tissues around the joint
  • trouble with daily activities, such as walking, washing, or dressing

Celebrex helps reduce joint pain and stiffness, which can make it easier to do daily activities.

Using Celebrex for rheumatoid arthritis

The FDA has approved Celebrex to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults.

RA is an autoimmune disease, which means it’s caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissues in the body by mistake. With RA, your immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and pain. As the disease progresses, this inflammation can damage cartilage and bones. This may cause the joint to become deformed.

Usually, RA affects at least two joints that are symmetrical. (This means the same joint is affected on both sides of your body.) It can develop in any joint, but it typically affects the hands, wrists, or feet. With RA, you can have:

  • pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joints
  • trouble with daily activities, such as getting up, walking, washing, or dressing
  • symptoms that don’t involve your joints, such as fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite or weight

Celebrex helps reduce inflammation in the joints, which relieves pain, swelling, and stiffness. This can make it easier to do daily activities.

Using Celebrex for ankylosing spondylitis

The FDA has approved Celebrex to treat ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adults.

AS is a form of arthritis that affects the spine. It usually runs in families. With AS, you have inflammation in the joints in your spine. This causes pain and stiffness in your back. As the disease progresses, the inflammation can damage the joints in your spine, causing new bone to grow. This new bone can fuse parts of your spine together.

AS usually affects the lower spine where it joins the pelvis. However, it can also affect the hips, shoulders, hands, and feet. With RA, you can have:

  • symptoms such as back pain and stiffness
  • trouble with daily activities, such as walking, washing, or dressing
  • symptoms that don’t involve your joints, such as fatigue, bowel inflammation, or eye inflammation

Celebrex helps reduce inflammation in the joints, which relieves pain, swelling, and stiffness. This can make it easier to do daily activities.

Using Celebrex for painful periods

The FDA has approved Celebrex to treat primary dysmenorrhea (painful periods) in adults.

Dysmenorrhea refers to abdominal pain or cramps that happen before or during your menstrual period. The pain is caused by the uterus contracting to expel its lining. With primary dysmenorrhea, your period pain isn’t related to another condition, such as fibroids or endometriosis.

Symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea can occur before or during your period. They can include:

  • dull, throbbing, or cramping pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, or thighs
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dizziness or faintness
  • headache

Celebrex is a pain reliever that’s especially useful for relieving period pain and cramps because it reduces your body’s production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are compounds that help your uterus contract.

Taking Celebrex with other drugs

Doctors often prescribe Celebrex in combination with other drugs.

If you have RA, your doctor may prescribe Celebrex in combination with a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). DMARDs help to stop your immune system from attacking your joints. Examples include:

If you have acute pain, such as back pain or pain following surgery, your doctor may prescribe Celebrex in combination with other types of pain relievers. Examples include:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • opioids such as codeine or tramadol

Using Celebrex in children

The FDA has approved Celebrex for one use in children.

Using Celebrex for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

The FDA has approved Celebrex to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) in children ages 2 years and older.

Doctors also call JRA juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Idiopathic means “with no known cause.” However, the condition is thought to be autoimmune, meaning it’s caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissues in the body by mistake.

With JRA, the child’s immune system attacks the linings of their joints, which causes inflammation and pain in the joints.

There are several forms of JRA, and it can affect any joint in the body. However, it usually occurs symmetrically (affecting the same joint on both sides of the body). With JRA, children can have:

  • pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joints
  • trouble with daily activities, such as getting up, walking, washing, or dressing
  • symptoms that don’t involve the joints, such as fever, rash, fatigue, eye inflammation, and loss of appetite or weight

Celebrex helps reduce inflammation in the joints, which relieves pain, swelling, and stiffness. This can make it easier to do daily activities.

Finding a healthcare professional for Celebrex

If you’re interested in taking Celebrex, you can find a doctor who may prescribe it by searching here. To prepare for your appointment, you may find it helpful to visit the appointment guide for rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or back pain.

Celebrex: Dosage

Below, you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Celebrex. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your needs.

Most often, doctors start by prescribing a low dosage of Celebrex. Then, they’ll change the dosage over time to an amount that’s right for the condition being treated. Doctors typically prescribe the smallest dosage that gives the desired outcome.

The dosage of Celebrex that your doctor prescribes will depend on factors such as:

  • your age
  • any health conditions you have
  • the condition you’re taking Celebrex to treat and the severity of the condition

Celebrex’s forms and strengths

Celebrex is available as follows.

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 50 milligrams (mg), 100 mg, 200 mg, 400 mg

Celebrex’s recommended dosages

Recommended dosages for Celebrex in adults and children are described below.

Adult dosage

The recommended dosage for acute pain, such as back pain, in adults is as follows.

  • Dose: 400 mg for the first dose only, then 200 mg
  • Frequency: twice per day when needed

The recommended dosage for osteoarthritis in adults is as follows.

  Option 1 Option 2
Dose 200 mg 100 mg
Frequency once per day twice per day

The recommended dosage for rheumatoid arthritis in adults is as follows.

  • Dose: 100 mg to 200 mg
  • Frequency: twice per day

The recommended dosage for ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adults is as follows.

  Option 1 Option 2
Dose 200 mg 100 mg
Frequency once per day twice per day

After 6 weeks, if needed, your doctor may increase your dosage for AS to 400 mg per day. This dosage is taken as 400 mg once per day or 200 mg twice per day. If you still have pain after 6 weeks at this dosage, your doctor will likely recommend switching to a different treatment.

The recommended dosage for period pain in adults is as follows.

  • Dose: 400 mg for the first dose only, then 200 mg
  • Frequency: twice per day when needed

Child dosage

The recommended dosage for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children is as follows.

  Dose Frequency
Children weighing 10 to 25 kilograms (kg)* 50 mg twice per day  
Children weighing more than 25 kg 100 mg twice per day

* 1 kg is about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Celebrex’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a dose of Celebrex, take it as soon as possible. However, if it’s nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Then take your next dose as scheduled. Do not take two doses together or extra doses to make up for a missed dose. If you’re unsure about whether to take a missed dose or not, call your doctor or pharmacist. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors may prescribe Celebrex as a long-term or short-term treatment, depending on the condition being treated. Doctors usually prescribe it for a short time to treat acute pain. However, they may prescribe it long term for arthritis if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for you. Doctors will typically prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.

Celebrex: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Celebrex and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

Does Celebrex cause certain side effects in older people?

Older people may experience any of Celebrex’s possible side effects. However, people ages 65 years or older may have a higher risk of serious gastrointestinal problems* with Celebrex. These problems include ulcers, bleeding, and perforations (tears) in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.

To lower the risk of these side effects, doctors typically prescribe the lowest possible dosage of Celebrex for older people. They may also prescribe a medication such as esomeprazole (Nexium) to help protect the digestive system.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning about the risk of serious gastrointestinal problems. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information about this side effect, see “Celebrex: Precautions” below.

Is Celebrex a blood thinner or narcotic?

No, Celebrex is not a blood thinner or narcotic. Instead, Celebrex is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Blood thinners are drugs used to treat and help prevent blood clots. Similar to blood thinners, NSAIDs such as Celebrex can sometimes increase the time it takes to stop bleeding, such as after an injury. However, they’re not blood thinners.

Narcotics are strong pain relievers called opioids. Similar to opioids, NSAIDs such as Celebrex help relieve pain. However, NSAIDs also reduce inflammation, which opioids do not. Opioids also have a risk of misuse and dependence, which NSAIDs do not. (With dependence, you need a drug to feel as you usually do. Misuse means taking a drug other than how it’s prescribed.)

If you have questions about how Celebrex works, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also learn more about how the drug functions in the “Celebrex: How it works” section below.

Are side effects of 200-mg Celebrex doses different from those of other doses?

Celebrex can cause similar side effects at any dosage. However, the risk of certain side effects is increased with higher doses. In particular, the risk of serious cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems* is increased with higher doses.

For adults, 200 milligrams (mg) per day is the usual recommended dosage for Celebrex. The highest recommended dosage is 400 mg per day. Taking 200 mg per day is less likely to cause side effects than taking 400 mg per day.

Due to the increased risk of side effects with higher doses, doctors will typically prescribe the lowest possible dosage for the shortest possible time.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning about the risk of serious gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For more information about this side effect, see “Celebrex: Precautions” below.

Is weight loss a side effect of Celebrex?

No, it’s not known to be. Weight loss wasn’t reported in clinical studies of Celebrex. Instead, weight gain was reported rarely in these studies.

If you experience sudden weight gain with Celebrex, call your doctor. This could be a sign of fluid retention that could cause or worsen heart failure.

If you’re concerned about weight changes with Celebrex, talk with your doctor.

Will stopping Celebrex cause withdrawal?

No, that’s not likely. Withdrawal symptoms only occur if you suddenly stop taking a drug that your body is dependent on. (With dependence, you need a drug to feel as you usually do.) Celebrex doesn’t cause dependence, so stopping it shouldn’t cause withdrawal symptoms. You won’t need to taper down your dosage slowly, as is done with some drugs that may cause withdrawal.

Celebrex: How it works

Doctors prescribe Celebrex to treat acute (short-term) pain, such as back pain or period pain. They also prescribe it to reduce inflammation and pain associated with various forms of arthritis. For more information about which uses Celebrex is approved for, see the “Celebrex: Uses” section above.

What happens with pain

When tissues in your body are damaged, for example, by injury, surgery, or conditions such as arthritis, your body makes prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are compounds that are involved in the healing process. However, they also cause inflammation and pain.

Period pain is caused by contractions in your uterus. Prostaglandins are also involved in making your uterus contract.

Prostaglandins are made by an enzyme (a type of protein) in your body called cyclo-oxygenase (COX).

What Celebrex does for pain

Celebrex works by blocking the action of COX. This reduces your body’s production of prostaglandins, which in turn helps relieve pain and inflammation.

How long does Celebrex take to start working?

Celebrex starts working to relieve pain within about 1 hour of taking a dose. However, you may need to take it for a few days before the inflammation is reduced.

How long does Celebrex stay in your system?

After you stop taking Celebrex, it takes about 2 days for the drug to be removed from your system.

Celebrex: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Celebrex for your condition. Certain drugs may work better for you than others.

Celebrex is used to treat several conditions. Here are summaries of other therapies that doctors sometimes prescribe for these conditions:

For more information about alternatives to Celebrex, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for your condition.

To learn more about some alternatives of Celebrex, view the following articles:

Celebrex: How to take

Your doctor will recommend how you should take Celebrex. It’s important that you take the drug exactly as your doctor instructs.

Celebrex comes as an oral capsule. You’ll take the capsules by swallowing them.

Questions about taking Celebrex

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking Celebrex.

  • When should I take Celebrex? You should take Celebrex either once or twice a day, as prescribed by your doctor. If you take it twice a day, take your doses about 12 hours apart. Try to take Celebrex at the same time(s) each day. Taking Celebrex around the same time of day helps keep a steady level of it in your body. This helps the medication work effectively. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses of Celebrex. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Do I need to take Celebrex with food? You can take Celebrex either with or without food. If you find it upsets your stomach, taking it with food may help.
  • Can Celebrex be chewed, split, or crushed? You should not chew or crush Celebrex. However, if you have trouble swallowing the capsules, you can split them open and take the contents sprinkled on a spoonful of applesauce. Wash this mixture down with a drink of water.
  • Is there a best time of day to take Celebrex? Should I take it in the morning or at night? There’s no best time to take Celebrex. If you take Celebrex once a day, you can take it at a time that best suits you. However, try to stick to the same time each day. If you take Celebrex twice a day, you can take your doses in the morning and evening, about 12 hours apart.

Celebrex: Consuming alcohol during treatment

Celebrex isn’t known to interact with alcohol. However, consuming alcohol during treatment with Celebrex could raise your risk of certain side effects. These include:

  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • serious gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers, bleeding, or tears in your digestive system*

If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor how much is safe for you to consume while taking Celebrex.

* Celebrex has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. See “Celebrex: Precautions” just below to read more about this.

Celebrex: Precautions

This drug comes with several precautions and contraindications. A contraindication is a factor or condition that could prevent your doctor from prescribing a drug due to a risk of harm.

FDA warnings

This drug has boxed warnings, the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Risk of serious cardiovascular problems. Celebrex belongs to a drug class called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Taking an NSAID such as Celebrex can increase your risk of serious or life threatening cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke. Your risk of these problems can increase soon after you start taking an NSAID.

You may have a higher risk of cardiovascular problems if you:

To lower your risk of cardiovascular problems, your doctor will prescribe the lowest possible dosage of Celebrex for the shortest possible time.

Due to the risk of cardiovascular problems, doctors typically won’t prescribe Celebrex if you’re due to have or have recently had a coronary artery bypass graft (a type of heart bypass surgery). And they may not prescribe Celebrex if you’ve recently had a heart attack.

Risk of serious gastrointestinal problems. Taking an NSAID such as Celebrex can increase your risk of serious or life threatening gastrointestinal problems. These problems include ulcers, bleeding, and perforations (tears) in your esophagus, stomach, or intestine. Your risk of these problems can increase soon after you start taking an NSAID.

You may have a higher risk of gastrointestinal problems if you:

  • take Celebrex at a high dosage or for a long period of time
  • have had a past ulcer, bleeding, or perforation in your digestive system
  • are age 65 years or older
  • have blood clotting problems
  • have severe liver disease
  • take certain other medications (see “Celebrex: Interactions” below for examples)
  • smoke
  • drink alcohol

Your doctor may not prescribe Celebrex if you have a high risk of gastrointestinal problems. To minimize your risk of gastrointestinal problems, your doctor will prescribe the lowest possible dosage of Celebrex for the shortest possible time.

Other precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Celebrex. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions. These situations are considered drug-condition interactions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Celebrex if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Allergy to other NSAIDs. Celebrex is a type of drug called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Your doctor will likely not prescribe Celebrex if you’ve ever had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reaction after taking an NSAID. Examples of NSAIDs other than Celebrex include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Sulfa allergy. Your doctor may not prescribe Celebrex if you’ve had an allergic reaction to sulfonamide drugs. Examples of sulfonamides include trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra, Bactrim), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), and dapsone. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Liver problems. Celebrex can cause and worsen liver problems such as liver failure. If you have a liver problem, Celebrex could build up in your body. This could raise your risk of Celebrex side effects, especially kidney problems. If you have a liver problem, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you. If you do take Celebrex, your doctor may prescribe a dosage that’s lower than usual. They’ll also likely order blood tests to check your liver and kidneys while you take Celebrex.
  • Kidney problems. Celebrex can cause and worsen kidney problems such as kidney failure. The risk of kidney problems is higher if you become dehydrated while taking Celebrex. If you have a kidney problem, talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you. If you do take Celebrex, your doctor will monitor your kidney function.
  • High blood pressure. Celebrex can increase your blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, it could make your condition worse. This could raise your risk of cardiovascular problems with Celebrex. (See “FDA warnings” above to learn more about this.) Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure while you take Celebrex. If you take blood pressure-lowering medications, your doctor may adjust your dosages if needed.
  • Heart failure. Celebrex can cause edema (fluid retention) and can worsen heart failure. If you have heart failure, you may also have an increased risk of kidney problems with Celebrex. Talk with your doctor about whether Celebrex is right for you. If you take Celebrex, call your doctor right away if you have new or worsening swelling in your lower legs, shortness of breath, or sudden weight gain.
  • Asthma. Celebrex can cause asthma attacks in some people. If you have asthma, check with your doctor whether Celebrex is right for you. Call your doctor right away if your asthma gets worse or you have an asthma attack after starting Celebrex.
  • Pregnancy. Celebrex can have harmful effects if taken in the last trimester of pregnancy. If you’d like more information about taking Celebrex while pregnant, view the “Celebrex: Taking while pregnant” section below.
  • Breastfeeding. Celebrex can pass into breast milk. If you’d like more information about taking Celebrex while breastfeeding, view the “Celebrex: Taking while breastfeeding” section below.

To learn more about effects of Celebrex that could be harmful, see the “Celebrex: Side effects” section above.

Celebrex: Interactions

Celebrex belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It may interact with other medications. It isn’t known to interact with any supplements or foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

For information about drug-condition interactions, see the “Celebrex: Precautions” section below.

Celebrex: Cost

As with other medications, prices for Celebrex may vary. The drug’s price will depend on factors such as:

Cost considerations for Celebrex

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Celebrex.

  • Option for a 90-day supply. For some drugs, it’s possible to get a 90-day supply. If this option is approved by your insurance company, it can help lower the cost of the drug. It can also help you avoid frequent trips to your pharmacy. If you’d like to learn more about this option, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Celebrex is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Celebrex. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Celebrex, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance options. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Celebrex is available. A savings card for Celebrex may help reduce its cost. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Use of a mail-order pharmacy. Celebrex may be dispensed through mail-order pharmacies. Getting your prescription through a mail-order pharmacy could lower its cost. It can also allow you to get the drug without leaving home. To find out more about this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Availability of a generic form. Celebrex comes in a generic form called celecoxib. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics are typically less expensive than brand-name drugs. If your doctor prescribes Celebrex but you want to know about taking celecoxib, talk with your doctor about which option might be better for you. Also, check your insurance plan because it might cover just one form or the other.

Celebrex: Taking while pregnant

Your doctor will likely recommend that you don’t take Celebrex from week 30 of pregnancy onward. Celebrex is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Clinical studies show that NSAIDs can cause serious fetal harm if taken from week 30 of pregnancy onward.

If you need to take an NSAID such as Celebrex between weeks 20 and 30 of pregnancy, your doctor will prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. They may also monitor the fetus with ultrasound scans. Studies show that NSAIDs can increase the risk of kidney problems in the fetus if taken from 20 weeks of pregnancy onward.

Doctors aren’t sure whether it’s safe to take Celebrex earlier during pregnancy. Studies in animals found the drug may have harmful effects on a fetus. However, animal studies don’t always predict what might happen in humans.

If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Celebrex.

Celebrex and birth control needs

Celebrex can cause fetal harm if taken from 20 weeks of pregnancy onward. Doctors aren’t sure whether it’s safe to take Celebrex earlier than that during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Celebrex if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend if you should use birth control with this medication.

Celebrex and fertility

Celebrex can delay ovulation in some females*, which could cause temporary infertility. (Fertility describes the ability to become pregnant or cause pregnancy in someone else.) This effect goes away after stopping Celebrex.

If you’re planning a pregnancy or trying to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking Celebrex. Other medications may be more suitable for you.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the term “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Celebrex: Taking while breastfeeding

Celebrex can pass into breast milk. However, the amounts are small and unlikely to cause side effects in a child who’s breastfed.

If you’re breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of taking Celebrex.

Celebrex: Overdose

Serious effects can occur if you take more than the recommended dosage of Celebrex. Do not take more Celebrex than your doctor recommends.  

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms that an overdose could cause include:

  • drowsiness
  • lethargy
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • bleeding in your digestive system, which may cause vomiting blood or a substance that looks similar to coffee grounds, and black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • high blood pressure
  • sudden kidney failure, which may cause less urination than usual, dark-colored urine, and confusion
  • slow, shallow breathing
  • coma

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Celebrex: Expiration, storage, and disposal

Here’s some information about Celebrex’s expiration date, as well as how to store and dispose of the drug.

  • Expiration. Your pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on Celebrex’s container. This date is usually 1 year from the date the medication was dispensed to you. Expiration dates help ensure that a medication is effective during a period of time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you avoid using expired drugs. If you have an unused medication and it’s past the drug’s expiration date, talk with your pharmacist. They can let you know whether you might still be able to use the medication.
  • Storage. Many factors determine how long a medication remains good to use. These factors include how and where you store the drug. Celebrex capsules should be stored at room temperature. Avoid storing it in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms. The medication should be kept in a tightly sealed container.
  • Disposal. It’s important to safely dispose of Celebrex if you no longer need to take it and have unused medication. Doing so helps prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. It also helps avoid causing harm to the environment. Ask your pharmacist for information about disposing of Celebrex. Also, check out this page for several tips on safe medication disposal.

Celebrex: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Celebrex, talk with your doctor. They can help advise you on whether Celebrex could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How long will I need to take Celebrex for?
  • Do I have a high risk of side effects with Celebrex?
  • Can I take Celebrex with my other medications?

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You may find these articles helpful in learning about alternative therapies for:

Also, view our selection of videos on:

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Brittany A. Duke, PharmD, RPh
Last Review Date: 2022 Jun 14
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.