Treatment of Migraine with Celebrex (Celecoxib)

celebrex for headache
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Celebrex is the brand name of the drug Celecoxib. Celecoxib belongs to the class of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Celebrex is mainly used to reduce pain and inflammation in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, painful menstruation, osteoarthritis, etc. but it can also be used in treating headaches particularly those associated with migraine.

Although Celebrex is used in treating headaches, it is not considered as a first-line pharmaceutical agent to treat headaches. NSAIDs like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, etc are generally preferred in the management of headaches.

Additionally, Celebrex can also be used in individuals with a family history of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) as it can reduce the risk of colorectal adenomas. The role of Celebrex in psychiatric conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia is also being researched as these conditions have an underlying inflammatory process and Celebrex is effective in reducing inflammation (McCormack, P.L., 2011. Celecoxib).

Is Celebrex Effective For Headaches?

Celebrex is an important drug in managing headaches, particularly those associated with migraine. Its relatively fewer side effects on the gastrointestinal tract as compared to other non-selective NSAIDs make Celebrex a better drug in treating headaches in patients who experience side effects like gastrointestinal bleeding with non-selective NSAIDs like Ibuprofen.

Thus, in spite of not being the most effective drug for treating headaches, Celebrex is used in headaches due to its relatively fewer side effects on the gastrointestinal tract and better tolerability.

Due to its effectiveness in reducing inflammatory processes, the role of Celebrex is thoroughly investigated in psychiatric illnesses like depression and schizophrenia and it is showing promising evidence (Taghdiri, F., Togha, M., Razeghi Jahromi, S. and Paknejad, S.M.H., 2015).

Scientfic Study on Celebrex

Patients with a diagnosis of migraine were chosen based on the International Headache Society revised criteria in a randomized open-label, controlled experiment. Celecoxib 400 mg (30 patients) or naproxen sodium 550 mg (30 patients) were given to 60 patients (30 patients).

Patients took the study drug for the first acute migraine episode that occurred during the trial period, and based on a visual analog score, reported a headache reduction (VAS).

After a month, patients were reassessed to compare VAS at one and two hours to baseline. Any drug adverse effects were also documented.
In comparison to naproxen sodium, celecoxib was equally efficient in reducing pain in acute migraine and caused much less stomach pain, according to the study (Celecoxib in the treatment of acute migraine).

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How does Celebrex work?

Celebrex selectively inhibits COX2 form of cyclo-oxygenase enzyme thereby preventing the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are the main mediators of inflammation and thus by reducing the production of prostaglandins, Celebrex reduces the inflammation.

You can buy Celebrex over the counter from certified online pharmacy as Celebrex is only available with prescription so always consult your healthcare provider before consuming any medications and keep prescription ready when you are about to purchase it.

Non-selective NSAIDs like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, etc inhibit both isoforms of cyclo-oxygenase enzyme (COX1 and COX2).  COX1 enzyme is essential in maintaining the gastrointestinal lining and the mucus covering of the gastrointestinal tract and thus by inhibiting COX1, non-selective NSAIDs can induce gastrointestinal bleeding, ulceration, and perforation. Contrary to this, Celebrex has less likelihood of gastrointestinal side-effects as it selectively inhibits only the COX2 enzyme (Loo, C.Y., Tan, H.J., Teh, H.S. and Raymond, A.A., 2007).

What are the Contraindications?

Celebrex is contraindicated (not given) in pregnant females and women who are breastfeeding.

Celebrex is also not given in patients with a past history of stroke, in individuals taking blood thinners like aspirin as it might increase the risk of bleeding and can potentially be fatal. 

In individuals who have had any allergic reactions to NSAIDs in the past, Celebrex is not preferred. 

There is increasing evidence of the use of Celebrex and increased risk of cardiovascular accidents hence it should not be given in individuals with any ongoing cardiovascular diseases or past history of cardiovascular accidents.

Side effects of celebrex

The most common side effects encountered with the use of Celebrex are gastrointestinal complaints like diarrhea and flatulence. Other side effects which can be seen are:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • difficulty in breathing
  • dizziness.

In some cases, gastrointestinal bleeding and perforation can also occur with Celebrex just like with other non-selective NSAIDs (Stollberger, C. and Finsterer, J., 2004).

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