By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Celecoxib is a medication used to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Some of the side effects of using celecoxib include:
Examples of simple gastrointestinal side effects include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, flatulence and dyspepsia. More severe gastrointestinal side effects including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestine.
Gastrointestinal bleeding and perforation can be life threatening complications. These conditions are more common among the elderly, debilitated patients, smokers, alcoholics, those on long-term corticosteroids and this with a poor general health status.
Allergies, hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis
Some patients are at risk of developing anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including celecoxib. Patients who are allergic to aspirin and sulphur containing drugs such as sulfonamides are at a greater risk of developing this reaction to celecoxib. The clinical features of anaphylaxis include a sharp fall in blood pressure, swelling and obstruction of the airways and, if not promptly treated, death.
Some patients may experience milder forms of drug allergy such as skin rashes. More serious skin reactions include exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.
The use of celecoxib is not recommended in combination with ACE Inhibitors, angiotensin receptor antagonists or thiazide diuretics. The concomitant use of these agents raises the risk of renal damage.
High blood pressure
As with other NSAIDs, celecoxib can cause high blood pressure or worsen pre-existing high blood pressure.
Anemia may occur in some patients on celecoxib.
Some patients on celecoxib may develop fluid retention, which can worsen pre-existing high blood pressure.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Jun 2, 2014