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Celebrex: Pain medication of choice?

Generic name: Celecoxib 

Celebrex: Why is this pain medication prescribed? 

Front Image - CELECOXIBCelebrex is a pain medication usually prescribed for acute and menstrual pain, the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Celebrex is a member of the class of medications referred to as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDís) referred to as Cox-2 inhibitors.  Like older NSAIDís such as Motrin and Naprosin, Celebrex is believed to fight pain and inflammation by inhibiting the effect of a natural enzyme called Cox-2.  However, unlike earlier medications, this is one pain medication that does not interfere with a similar substance called Cox-1, which is believed to exert a protective affect on the stomach lining.  As a result, Celebrex is less likely to cause the bleeding and ulcers that sometimes accompany sustained use of the older NSAIDís. 

Celebrex has also been found to reduce the number colorectal polyps (growths of the lower intestine as well as the rectum, for people who suffer from a condition referred to as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), an inherited tendency to develop large amounts of colorectal polyps that eventually become cancerous. 

What are some of the more important things to know about this pain medication? 

Similar to other NSAID pain medications, Celebrex may increase the chance of having a heart attack or stroke, possibly resulting in death.  The risk is believed to be greater if you have existing heart disease or use NSAIDís for a long period of time. It is very important to discuss the risks and benefits of using Celebrex and similar pain medications with your doctor, who will usually prescribe the lowest effective dose for as short a period of time as possible. 

Although Celebrex is believed to be easy on the stomach it still may result in some degree of risk, especially if you've had stomach ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding in the past.  All NSAID's including Celebrex, can cause serious and even life-threatening ulcers and bleeding in the stomach and intestines.  These side effects may occur without symptoms and can occur at any time during the treatment.  If you've ever had ulcers or stomach bleeding, you should make sure that your physician is aware of it as well as alerting them if you develop any digestive problems or notice a change in your bowel movements (such as blood in the stool or black, sticky stools). 

Celebrex: How should you take this pain medication? 

You should always follow your doctor's recommendations when taking Celebrex or similar pain medications.  You can take it with or without food. 

If you miss a dose... 

You should take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose, at which time you should skip the one you missed and get back to your normal schedule.  You should never take two doses at the same time. 

Storage instructions... 

You should always store Celebrex and similar pain medications at room temperature.

Some information from The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs

Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic M.A. Licensed Psychologist Ph.D Candidate (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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