People who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (other than aspirin) such as celecoxib may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than people who do not take these medications. These events may happen without warning and may cause death. This risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, if you smoke, and if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Get emergency medical help right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part or side of the body, or slurred speech.
If you will be undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG; a type of heart surgery), you should not take celecoxib right before or right after the surgery.
NSAIDs such as celecoxib may cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach or intestine. These problems may develop at any time during treatment, may happen without warning symptoms, and may cause death. The risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time, are older in age, have poor health, or drink large amounts of alcohol while taking celecoxib. Tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol or if you take any of the following medications: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); aspirin; other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); or oral steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone). Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had ulcers or bleeding in your stomach or intestines or other bleeding disorders. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking celecoxib and call your doctor: stomach pain, heartburn, vomiting a substance that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, blood in the stool, or black and tarry stools.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will monitor your symptoms carefully and will probably order certain tests to check your body's response to celecoxib. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling so that your doctor can prescribe the right amount of medication to treat your condition with the lowest risk of serious side effects.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with celecoxib and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Celecoxib is used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints), rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints), and ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis that mainly affects the spine). It is also used to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (a type of arthritis that affects children) in children 2 years of age and older. Celecoxib is also used to treat painful menstrual periods and to relieve other types of short term pain including pain caused by injuries, surgery and other medical or dental procedures, or medical conditions that last for a limited time. Celecoxib is in a class of NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors. It works by stopping the body's production of a substance that causes pain and inflammation.
How should this medicine be used?
Celecoxib comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day. If you are taking up to 200 mg of celecoxib at a time, you may take the medication with or without food. If you are taking more than 200 mg of celecoxib at a time, you should take the medication with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if you need to take your medication with food. To help you remember to take celecoxib, take it around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take celecoxib exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you cannot swallow the capsules or if you are giving this medication to a child, you may open the capsules and sprinkle the contents over a teaspoon of cold or room temperature applesauce. You may prepare the mixture in advance and store it for up to 6 hours in a refrigerator. When you are ready to take your medication, swallow all of the mixture. Then drink water to wash down the mixture and be sure that you have swallowed all of it.
Other uses for this medicine
Celecoxib is also sometimes used with surgery and other treatments to reduce the number of polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon (large intestine) and rectum in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (a condition in which hundreds or thousands of polyps form in the colon and cancer may develop). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking celecoxib,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to celecoxib, aspirin or other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), sulfa medications, any other medications, or any of the inactive ingredients in celecoxib capsules. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the inactive ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik); angiotensin II receptor antagonists such as candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan (Teveten), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), olmesartan (Benicar), telmisartan (Micardis), and valsartan (Diovan); anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin);diuretics ('water pills'); fluconazole (Diflucan); and lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any of the conditions mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section or asthma, especially if you also have frequent stuffed or runny nose or nasal polyps (swelling of the lining of the nose); swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs; or liver or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, especially if you are in the last few months of your pregnancy, you plan to become pregnant, or you are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking celecoxib, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking celecoxib.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Celecoxib may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- gas or bloating
- sore throat
- cold symptoms
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately. Do not take any more celecoxib until you speak to your doctor.
- unexplained weight gain
- excessive tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- flu-like symptoms
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- pale skin
- fast heartbeat
- cloudy, discolored, or bloody urine
- back pain
- difficult or painful urination
- frequent urination, especially at night
Celecoxib may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- lack of energy
- stomach pain
- vomiting material that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds
- bloody or black, tarry stools
- loss of consciousness
- swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, lips, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Your blood pressure should be checked regularly during your treatment.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.