Celebrex – How well it works

How was the effectiveness of Celebrex tested?

Celebrex (celecoxib) is an oral medication used to treat inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In order to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), large clinical trials were carried out to investigate the effectiveness and safety of treatment with Celebrex.

How effective is Celebrex compared to naproxen in reducing RA symptoms?

One of the studies was designed to test the safety effectiveness of taking Celebrex to reduce RA symptoms. This was done by comparing treatment with Celebrex with other kinds of therapies. Almost 1500 adults with RA took part in the 12-week-long study. The participants were divided into groups to receive different types of treatments. One group received Celebrex twice a day. One group received prescription naproxen, which is another type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to reduce inflammation and pain. The final group received placebo, which is a sugar pill that has no active ingredient.

After 12 weeks of treatment, various kinds of data were gathered about patients’ RA symptoms. These included:

  • The patient’s own assessment of their RA condition
  • The physician’s assessment of the patient’s RA condition
  • The number of tender or painful joints that the patient has
  • The number of swollen joints the patient has

Overall, the results show that treatment with Celebrex is effective in improving the signs and symptoms of RA. Both Celebrex and naproxen were significantly better at improving signs and symptoms of RA than placebo treatment.

Additionally, patients who received 12 weeks of treatment with 200-mg Celebrex twice daily reported that they had about 12 fewer tender or painful joints than they did before treatment. Patients who were treated with naproxen reported that they had about 9 fewer tender or painful joints.

Does treatment with Celebrex affect the way that other kinds of drugs work?

Many people are advised to take a low dose of aspirin every day because its “antiplatelet effect” can help to reduce the risk of certain kinds of cardiovascular issues, such as heart attack or stroke. Aspirin and Celebrex are both NSAIDs, but Celebrex does not have the same antiplatelet effect as aspirin. Several studies have been carried out to test the effects of taking a daily low dose of aspirin plus some other NSAID (Celebrex, naproxen, and ibuprofen) to treat pain and inflammation.

Overall, the studies show that taking Celebrex does not affect the antiplatelet effect of low-dose aspirin. The results of one of those studies suggest that unlike Celebrex, both naproxen and ibuprofen may reduce the antiplatelet effect of low-dose aspirin.

Methotrexate (brand names: Rheumatrexis; Trexall) is one of the most commonly used drugs for the treatment of RA. A study was carried out to investigate whether taking Celebrex and methotrexate at the same time would affect the way that methotrexate works. The results of the study indicate that taking Celebrex does not affect the way that the body processes methotrexate. This means that RA patients can take both of the drugs at the same time to manage their symptoms.

Written by: Jonathan Simmons | Last reviewed: September 2013.
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