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What is celecoxib?

Celecoxib (also called Celebrex®) is used to treat acute pain. This medicine is one of a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Celecoxib is available as a 100mg and 200mg capsule to be taken by mouth.

How to take celecoxib

  • Celecoxib is usually taken one or two times a day.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk so it does not upset your stomach.
  • If you cannot swallow the capsule, you may open it and pour the medicine into a teaspoon of applesauce. Stir the mixture well and swallow right away. Drink enough water to make sure you swallow all of the medicine.
  • Do not take more than what your doctor told you to take. Taking more than you are told may raise your chance of very bad side effects.
  • Do not take this drug for longer than you were told by your doctor.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Any medicine that has been mixed with applesauce may be stored in a refrigerator and used within 6 hours.
  • Missed doses:
    • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
    • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
    • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

Laboratory testing

An enzyme in the body called cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) has the ability to break down certain medicines including celecoxib. A genetic test can be done to determine if your CYP2C9 breaks down medicines slower or faster than normal. If your body breaks down the medicine slower than normal, you should avoid taking celecoxib. For information about CYP2C9 and its effect on celecoxib, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, and see “Do you know… Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) and medicines.” For more details, go to

Possible side effects of celecoxib

Most common

  • Mild skin rash
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Rash
  • Irritated throat
  • Runny nose
  • Cold-like symptoms, swelling of sinuses
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Flu-like symptoms

If you have any of these side effects, tell the doctor right away:         

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood
  • Fast or slow heartbeat
  • Severe stomach pain, vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds, bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, severe stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of your body, sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, painful urination
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Pain in your calf
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweat, and bluish skin
  • Sudden or severe headache, feeling dizzy, or problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Feeling unusually tired or weak, pale skin

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse. In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for celecoxib

  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • A serious liver problem
    • Bleeding in your stomach or intestines
    • Increased risk for a heart attack or stroke
    • Risk for disseminated intravascular coagulation (bleeding problem) in children younger than 18 years
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Some medicines can affect how celecoxib works. Tell your doctor if you are also taking any of the following:
    • A blood thinner, such as warfarin
    • A diuretic (water pill), such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)
    • Blood pressure medicine, such as enalapril, lisinopril, losartan, valsartan
    • Fluconazole
    • Lithium
    • Other pain or arthritis medicine, such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen
    • Steroid medicine, such as hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisone


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).