Celebrex is a non-generic medication prescribed to people with arthritis and other acute pain issues.
Uses for Celebrex
Celebrex (Celecoxib) is a prescription used for pain management in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), and ankylosing spondylitis. It is in the category of NSAID mediations. NSAIDs include medications like naproxen and ibuprofen, as well. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not narcotics, and Celebrex has been FDA-approved. Its advantage over other NSAIDs is that it is said to cause less stomach discomfort. The medication is also noted, from clinical studies, to improve stiffness, pain, and physical function for OA patients. For RA patients,Celecoxib has been shown to reduce joint swelling and tenderness. Patients suffering from acute pain have been found to get immediate relief with this prescription. This pain reliever works by inhibiting COX-2 (Cyclooxygenase-2), an enzyme in the body that causes pain and inflammation.1 Celebrex may also be prescribed for painful menstruation.2
Side Effects of Celebrex
For heart patients, Celebrex does not interfere with the antiplatelet effect of low-dose aspirin; however, it is important to know, that over time, NSAID use increases the risk of ulcers and stomach bleeding. There are cardiovascular risks, and Celebrex is one of the medications that can “increase the chance of heart attack or stroke…death…(and) Celebrex should not be used right before or after certain heart surgeries”. Some people may have allergic reactions to aspirin, NSAIDs, and sulfonamides. Those with these allergies, such as hives, facial swelling, and trouble breathing should not take Celebrex. This medication is also contraindicated in late pregnancy.3 Nursing mothers should be aware that this prescription may affect their baby. Patients intending to take Celebrex should not consume alcohol, as it may lead to stomach bleeding. They should also be cautious before taking any allergy, pain, or cold medicine that contains another NSAID. Celebrex can increase the risk of sunburns; therefore sunlight and tanning beds should be avoided. Some side effects of this medication include dizziness, headache, nervousness, sore throat, congestion, minor rash, and digestive complaints. More serious problems include rash, bruising, itching, loss of appetite, jaundice, muscle weakness, swelling, coughing up blood or vomit, chest pain, and abnormal urine and stools.4 Because of the serious side effects and other issues, it is important that patients weigh their decision to take Celebrex seriously. This medication is “harder on the heart” than other NSAIDs, it “may not be much easier on the gut”, it may not be more effective than other NSAIDs or acetaminophen, and it is expensive—more so than over-the-counter medications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or generic NSAIDs may be safer for people with OA. Naproxen may be best for people with heart disease. Those at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding may need to combine their medications with a “stomach-protecting drug such as omeprazole” (i.e., Prilosec).5
Alternative Treatments for Arthritis
Chiropractic or physical therapy treatments may be helpful for those with arthritis. Heat, ice, range-of motion exercises, and transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) may assist those with arthritic pain. The use of ergonomic devices can also provide daily relief. Patients may wish to try mind-body therapies, such as relaxation, breathing exercises, and biofeedback. Yoga and tai chi can help with pain management, flexibility, and strength. Fish oil can reduce inflammation.6 Other non-drug activities can help manage arthritis symptoms, such as losing weight, low impact aerobics, wearing low-heeled and supportive shoes, sitting in chairs that have arms, keeping warm, taking supplements with “glucosamine sulfate (not hydrochloride)”, and using creams with capsaicin. Acupuncture and massage may also be helpful.7
Read about more information regarding chiropratic care for arthritis.