Sounds like 'SEL-e-KOX-ib'

Celecoxib is an anti-inflammatory used to treat pain and inflammation. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Celecoxib is also called Celebrex.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Analgesics (pain killer)
  • Anti-inflammatory (reduces pain and swelling)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID)  
  • Celecoxib Pfizer ®
  • Celebrex ®
  • Celostea

What is celecoxib?

Celecoxib is in a group of medicines known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Celecoxib is used to treat different types of pain such as pain from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and painful periods (dysmenorrhoea). Read more about pain. Watch a video about celecoxib for pain.

In New Zealand celecoxib is available as capsules (100 mg and 200 mg) . 


  • The usual dose of celecoxib is 100 mg once or two times a day. 
  • Some people may need higher doses of 200 mg once or two times a day.
  • Always take your celecoxib exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take celecoxib

  • Timing: Take celecoxib with food or immediately after food, to prevent stomach upset.
  • Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush or chew them. Take celecoxib with a full glass of water.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol while you are taking celecoxib. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects such as stomach upset.  
  • Missed dose: It is not harmful if you miss your celecoxib dose. If you miss a dose, take it when you remember, with or after food. Do not take double the dose.

Precautions before taking celecoxib

  • Do you have high blood pressure or problems with your heart?
  • Do you have kidney or liver problems?
  • Have you had stomach ulcers?
  • Do you have inflammatory bowel disease?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Do you have any breathing problems or asthma?
  • Have you had an allergic reaction to a medicine, particularly to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, naproxen, diclofenac, and ibuprofen)?

If any of these apply, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start celecoxib. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care, that your pharmacist will tell you about.

What are the side effects of celecoxib?

Like all medicines, celecoxib can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. 

For most people taking celecoxib is safe. However, extra care is needed if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, stomach ulcers or kidney problems or if you smoke. Discuss with your doctor whether taking celecoxib is suitable for you. 

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), except aspirin, increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. These serious side effects can occur even in the first weeks of using an NSAID and the risk may increase the longer you are taking them.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms such as:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
    • sudden weakness or numbness in one part or side of the body
    • sudden slurred speech.

Other side effects

Side effects What should I do?
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Take celecoxib with food
  • Talk to your doctor if it is painful.
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Serious stomach problems such as really bad stomach pain, blood in the stool, black or dark colour in your stool, cough or vomit up blood, or dark coloured vomit
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine on 0800 611 116
  • Signs of allergic reaction such as skin rashes, itching, swelling of the face, lips, mouth or have problems breathing, like a tight chest or shortness of breath
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine on 0800 611 116


Celecoxib interacts with some medicines, especially those used for high blood pressure, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking it.

Do not take other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or naproxen while you are taking celecoxib. This is harmful and can increase your risk of side effects.

Taking NSAIDs together with medicines called ACE inhibitors or ARBs and diuretics (water pills) can be harmful to your kidneys.

  • If you are taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs and diuretics, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting celecoxib. 
  • Examples of ACE inhibitors are captopril, cilazapril, enalapril, lisinopril, perindopril and quinapril.
  • Examples of ARBs are candesartan and losartan.
  • Examples of diuretics are furosemide, bumetanide, bendroflumethiazide, chlortalidone, indapamide and metolazone.  

Read more: The triple whammy SafeRx

Learn more

The following links provide further information about celecoxib. Be aware that websites from other countries may have information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Celecoxib Rheuminfo
 New Zealand Formulary Patient Information
Celecoxib capsules for pain and inflammation Patient info, UK


  1. Celecoxib New Zealand Formulary
  2. Celecoxib: the "need to know" for safe prescribing BPAC, 2018
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 12 Mar 2018