3 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE..
3 Things You Need To Know Before You Take Celebrex
The pain pill celecoxib (Celebrex), along with two similar drugs, hit the US market in the late 1990s and early 2000s and quickly racked up billions of dollars in profit. But serious side effects led to the withdrawal of the other two (rofecoxib and valdecoxib) in the mid-2000s. The FDA required celecoxib manufacturer Pfizer to fund a study comparing the drug with prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) in arthritis patients. The results were published in theNew England Journal of Medicinein November 2019. So, is Celebrex safe?
How it works
Celebrex is a COX-2 selective inhibitor, meaning it works by stopping the enzyme COX-2, which influences inflammation and pain at the cellular level. What makes a "selective" drug different from nonselective NSAIDs is that it doesn't block a similar enzyme, COX-1, which helps maintain kidney and stomach functions. Disrupting COX-1, researchers believed, was what gave traditional NSAIDs their reputation for gastrointestinal side effects.
Any NSAID can affect the level of COX-2 in the kidneys, which may lead to salt and water retention, worsening heart health. In 2015, the FDA added a warning label to prescription NSAIDs highlighting the risks of heart attack, stroke, and stomach issues from taking these drugs. The agency even requested more information about these risks on the labels of OTC formulas. The results of the new study suggest that celecoxib has the same heart risks as ibuprofen and naproxen but causes fewer GI side effects. "The drug we were most worried about turned out to have the lowest rate of adverse outcomes in most cases," says lead author Steven E. Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic.
Before you take it
Assess your pain. Over-the-counter NSAID doses are lower than the prescription doses tied to risks in research. If you need a prescription, speak to your doctor about your heart, stomach, and kidney health; celecoxib may be safer than Rx versions of some OTC meds.
MORE: 13 Mistakes You're Making With Your Pain Meds
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