Celebrex (Celecoxib) Pharmacology

Celecoxib is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent drug (NSAID) used to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation in conditions such as osteoarthritis and arthritis.

Mechanism of action

Celecoxib prevents the synthesis of a chemical called prostaglandin by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2). Prostaglandins are important mediators of pain and inflammation in the body.

Most NSAIDS inhibit the two forms of cyclooxygenase (COX -1 and COX-2) but celecoxib is a selective inhibitor of COX-2. Both COX-1 and COX-2 are involved in converting arachidonic acid to prostaglandin H2, a precursor for prostaglandin and thromboxane.

Celecoxib has a sulfonamide side chain that binds to a hydrophilic region near to the active binding site of COX-2. The accumulation of prostaglandins, particularly prostaglandin E2, causes inflammation, pain and swelling as part of the healing process. Inhibiting the production of these prostaglandins through COX-2 inhibition therefore alleviates this pain and swelling.

Pharmacokinetics – the movement of the drug within the body

When taken as a 200 mg oral dose celecoxib reaches a peak plasma concentration of 705 ng/mL after 3 hours. If the drug is taken with a high fat meal, the peak concentration is achieved around an hour or two later than this and if the drug is taken with antacids containing aluminium and magnesium salts, the plasma concentration falls by around 37%.

Once absorbed from the gut, 97% of the drug binds to proteins in the blood and is transported to the liver where it is broken down and excreted in the feces and urine.

Recommended uses

Celecoxib is recommended for the relief of pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and a condition called ankylosing spondylitis. The drug is also used to manage pain after surgery or injury or due to menstrual cramps.

However, contraindications for the drug include the following factors and conditions:

  • Age under 18 years
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
  • Allergy to NSAIDs
  • Unstable ischemic heart disease
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Liver or kidney damage

Possible side effects

Some of the potential side effects of using celecoxib include:

  • Cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke
  • Abdominal bloating, pain, diarrhea and flatulence
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen ankles, feet and hands
  • Sore throat, fever, chills and flu-like symptoms
  • Rash and itchy spots
  • Severe allergy or anaphylactic shock

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 18). Celebrex (Celecoxib) Pharmacology. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 25, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Celebrex-(Celecoxib)-Pharmacology.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Celebrex (Celecoxib) Pharmacology". News-Medical. 25 June 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Celebrex-(Celecoxib)-Pharmacology.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Celebrex (Celecoxib) Pharmacology". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Celebrex-(Celecoxib)-Pharmacology.aspx. (accessed June 25, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Celebrex (Celecoxib) Pharmacology. News-Medical, viewed 25 June 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Celebrex-(Celecoxib)-Pharmacology.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.