What is celecoxib?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Celecoxib (Celebrex) is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called a COX-2 inhibitor. These drugs have fewer side effects than traditional NSAIDs. Celecoxib can help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. It does not slow the progress or reverse the course of the disease. It is an option for people who are at risk for digestive complications from traditional NSAIDs.

Some treatment guidelines recommend that people who take a COX-2 inhibitor for osteoarthritis should also take a proton pump inhibitor, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), to protect their digestive system. This is especially true for people who are at risk for digestive damage, such as older adults and those who have had ulcers, GI bleeding, or other digestive problems in the past. 

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Dr. Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon
Celecoxib (Celebrex) is in a class of prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) known as COX-2 inhibitors, which relieve pain with less stomach irritation than traditional NSAIDs. Concerns about cardiovascular side effects mean it should be used only in cases in which a patient does not have heart disease, has tried other pain relievers without success, and may be prescribed when patients must take concomitant blood thinners (anticoagulants such as warfarin).

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