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 the possible side effects. Celecoxib is also called Celebrex.

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. 


  • In Aotearoa New Zealand celecoxib is available as capsules (100 mg and 200 mg).
  • The usual dose of celecoxib is 100 mg once or twice a day. 
  • Some people may need higher doses of 200 mg once or twice 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. If you find the capsules difficult to swallow try taking your dose with a full glass of water (200–250 mLs).
  • 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.

You should find that your pain is eased within a few days of starting to take the capsules.



Celecoxib can interact with some medicines. These include:

Celecoxib can also interact with herbal supplements and rongoā Māori so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medicines or products while taking celecoxib.


Your doctor may want to check your blood pressure and kidney function from time to time while you are taking celecoxib. If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Possible side effects

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

Side effects What should I do?
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Take celecoxib with food.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Talk to your doctor if it is painful.
  • Headache
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Take paracetamol if needed.
  • Tell your doctor if it bothers you.
  • Dizziness
  • Do not drive and do not use tools or machines until you feel better.
  • Tell your doctor if it bothers you.
  • Worsening wheeze or breathlessness especially if you are an asthmatic.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline on 0800 611 116.
  • Serious stomach problems such as really bad stomach pain, blood in the stool (poo), black or dark colour in your stool, coughing or vomiting 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.
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

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

Celecoxib Patient Information NZ Formulary, NZ
Celecoxib Rheuminfo, US
Celecoxib capsules for pain and inflammation Patient info, UK


  1. Celecoxib NZ Formulary, NZ
  2. Celecoxib: the "need to know" for safe prescribing BPAC, NZ

Additional resources for healthcare professionals

Avoiding the “triple whammy” in primary care: ACE inhibitor/ARB + diuretic + NSAID BPAC, NZ, 2018
 Medsafe Product datasheet, NZ
NSAIDs and cardiovascular risk Medsafe, NZ
NSAIDs can SCAR (Severe Cutaneous Adverse Reaction) Medsafe, NZ
Reducing the risk of GI reactions with NSAIDs and/or COX-2 inhibitors Medsafe, NZ
Prescribing restrictions for all COX-2 Inhibitors Medsafe, NZ

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Maya Patel, MPharm PGDipClinPharm, Auckland Last reviewed: 22 Mar 2022