Similar to Vioxx, Celebrex is a COX-2 inhibitor belonging to the drug class nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Celebrex is used to treat the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as manage acute pain in adults and primary dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramping). Celebrex provides pain relief by inhibiting the COX-2 form of the COX enzyme to block production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that contribute to the symptoms of pain, fever and inflammation.
Celebrex works by reducing inflammation, which often is a component of arthritis, back pain and neck pain.
Celebrex was approved by the FDA in May 1999 for the relief of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis in adults, painful menstrual cramps, and acute pain in adults.
Common Celebrex side effects include cold-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, sneezing, cough), skin rash, swelling in the extremities, burning sensation in the chest or stomach, chest congestion, diarrhea, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, flu-like symptoms (muscle aches, weakness, nausea, chills), stomach tenderness, indigestion, back pain, and runny nose.
Rare but serious side effects of Celebrex include liver damage, stomach problems, heart problems, serious allergic reactions and kidney problems.
COX-2 inhibitor painkillers are suspected of causing fatal heart disease and may act to harden the arteries. Celebrex has been linked by researchers to an increase in the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
Patients who should not take Celebrex include:
- Patients allergic to celecoxib or any other ingredients of Celebrex
- Patients allergic to sulfonamide-type drugs or sulfa
- Persons who have experienced asthma, hives, or allergic reactions after taking aspirins or other NSAIDs
- Women who are in late pregnancy
What are NSAIDs?
NSAIDs are a large group of drugs that have pain-relieving and fever reducing effects, as well as reducing inflammation when used over time. The anti-inflammatory effects may take anywhere from a few days to three weeks to take effect.
Non-selective (traditional) NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, aspirin, Nabumetone and Naproxen work by inhibiting both the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes to stop the production of prostaglandins, while COX-2 inhibitors only block the COX-2 enzyme.
What are some common uses for NSAIDs?
- Treatment of pain and inflammation associated with arthritis (inflammation and resulting pain of one or more joints, a common characteristic of over 200 rheumatic diseases with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common forms).
- Back pain and sciatica (pain down into the leg, which travels below the knee and may involve the foot).
- Sprains, strains and rheumatism.
- Menstrual cramps (primary dysmenorrhoea – mild, and menorrhagia – heavy).
- Migraines, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
- Other painful conditions, particularly those with symptoms of inflammation.
Are there certain conditions that put people at greater risk for health problems when using Celebrex?
Yes. These conditions, and potential side effects, include:
- Allergic reactions to Celebrex. People with allergies to Sulfonamides (sulfadiazine, sulfisoxazole, Gantanol, or Thiosulfil), other NSAIDs, carry a much higher risk of an allergic reaction to Celebrex.
- Anemia – Celebrex may trigger this condition in rare cases, and should be used cautiously by individuals with a prior history of this iron deficiency.
- Asthma – Celebrex could trigger an asthma attack. Asthmatics that are sensitive to Aspirin are at the highest risk for an allergic reaction to Celebrex.
- Dehydration – Due to the increased risk of kidney damage, people suffering from dehydration should not take Celebrex.
- Diabetics – are especially vulnerable to side effects, and should not take Celebrex.
- Heart problems – Long-term Celebrex treatment may cause renal toxicity and decreased blood flow to the heart. Patients with pre-existing heart conditions, liver problems, and those taking diuretics or angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are most likely to be affected. High blood pressure is also a possible side effect of Celebrex.
- Kidney or liver impairment – Celebrex could aggravate or trigger these conditions. Kidney damage may also result from long-term use of Celebrex.
- Pregnancy – COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex should not be taken in the last 3 months of pregnancy, and have not been studied for safety earlier in pregnancy.
- Ulcer or Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleeding – Celebrex may cause or aggravate deterioration and bleeding in the GI tract.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Celebrex?
Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Celebrex, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Celebrex lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.