Celebrex is the brand name of the drug Celecoxib. Celecoxib belongs to the class of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and is a selective COX-2 inhibitor. Celebrex has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects. It is mainly used to reduce pain and inflammation in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, dysmenorrhea.

Celebrex can also be used in treating headaches, particularly those associated with migraine. Although Celebrex is effective in treating headaches, it is not considered as a first-line pharmaceutical agent to treat headaches. NSAIDs like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac are generally preferred in the management of headaches.

Is Celebrex Effective For Headaches?

Celebrex is an effective drug in managing headaches, particularly those associated with migraine. Compared to other non-selective NSAIDs, its relatively fewer side effects on the gastrointestinal tract make Celebrex a safer drug in treating headaches in patients who are at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.

Scientific Study on Celebrex

A randomized open-label, controlled trial to assess the efficacy of Celecoxib in the treatment of acute migraine was performed (Celecoxib in the treatment of acute migraine). In total 60 patients with a diagnosis of migraine (based on the International Headache Society revised criteria) were randomized to either Celecoxib 400 mg (30 patients) or Naproxen sodium 550 mg (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 (VAS), reported a headache reduction.
After a month, patients were reassessed to compare VAS at one and two hours to VAS at baseline. Any drug adverse effects were also documented.

According to the study, in comparison with naproxen sodium, celecoxib was equally efficient in reducing pain in acute migraine and caused significantly less stomach pain.

How Does Celebrex Work?

Celebrex selectively inhibits COX-2 form of cyclo-oxygenase enzyme thereby preventing the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are the main mediators of inflammation pathway. This pharmacological activity gives Celebrex its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects.

Non-selective NSAIDs like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, 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 the COX2 enzymes.

What Are the Contraindications?

  • Celebrex is contraindicated in women during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Celebrex is also contraindicated in patients with a past history of ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease.
  • Celebrex should be avoided in patients with active peptic ulceration or gastrointestinal bleeding, and in patients with severe hepatic or renal dysfunction.
  • In individuals who have had any allergic reactions to NSAIDs in the past, Celebrex is not preferred.

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.

  • McCormack, P.L. Celecoxib. Drugs 71, 2457–2489 (2011) from Linkspringer accessed on December 20th 2021
  • Celecoxib vs Prednisone for the Treatment of Withdrawal Headache in Patients With Medication Overuse Headache from https://doi.org/10.1111/head.12487 accessed on December 19th 2021.
  • Randomized, open label, controlled trial of celecoxib in the treatment of acute migraine from ResearchGate accessed on December 20th 2022


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