Posted on April 28th, 2009 by

Class: Chemoprevention

Generic Name: Celecoxib (sell-eh-KOCKS-ib)
Trade Name: Celebrex®

For which conditions is this drug approved? Celecoxib is FDA approved for the reduction of colon polyps in patients with the genetic disorder called familial adenomatous polyposis.  It is important for patients to remember that physicians have the ability to prescribe medication for conditions other than those for which the drug has been approved by the FDA. Patients who have received a prescription of this drug for a condition other than which it is approved may wish to discuss this issue with their physician.

What is the mechanism of action? Celecoxib belongs to a class of drugs referred to as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Celecoxib is believed to reduce the number of colon polyps by blocking inflammatory pathways that may be involved in the development of polyps through several different mechanisms.

How is celecoxib typically given (administered)? Celecoxib is given orally and the dose depends on several factors, including the condition being treated, the size of the patient, the particular regimen being used and the overall health of the patient.

How are patients typically monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with celecoxib.  Typically, blood will be drawn to monitor functions of some organ systems, such as the kidneys or liver. Patients may also undergo physical examinations, scans or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy. Patients will be monitored for allergic reactions to celecoxib, although this is an uncommon occurrence. Patients who have asthma, or who are sensitive to aspirin, may be at an increased risk of developing an allergic reaction to celecoxib. Patients who experience difficulty breathing, chills, lightheadedness or closing of the throat should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Patients will also be monitored for gastrointestinal bleeding.

What are the most common side effects with treatment with celecoxib?

• Headache
• Heartburn
• Abdominal pain
• Diarrhea
• Nausea
• Respiratory infection

This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.

Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.

What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?

• Pay careful attention to the physician’s instructions and inform the physician of any side effects.
• Maintain adequate rest and nutrition.
• Wear sunscreen and protective clothing and try to minimize sun exposure.
• Drink plenty of fluids. (Patients should ask their physician about the amount of liquid to consume during a day.)

Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?

• Patients should inform their physician if they are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a family in the near future. This drug may cause birth defects. It is important to use some kind of birth control while undergoing treatment. Also, patients may want to talk to their physician if they are considering having children in the future, since some drugs may cause fertility problems.
• It is important that patients inform their physician of any pre-existing conditions (chicken pox, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, etc.) as they may worsen with this drug.
• Patients should inform their physician if they have had ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding.
• Patients should inform their physician if they have high blood pressure or fluid retention.
• Patients should inform their physician of any other medication they are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter, including vitamins, herbs, etc.) as they may interfere with treatment.
• Patients should check with their physician before starting any new drug or nutritional supplement.
• Patients should inform their physician of any known drug or food allergies or any reactions to medications they have experienced in the past.
• Patients should not take celecoxib if they had an allergic reaction to a sulfonamide (sulfa) medication or if they have had asthma or an allergic type reaction after taking aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
• If an oral dose is missed, do not double up on doses.  Patients should contact their physician in this event.
• Keep medication out of reach of children and return to the pharmacy for safe disposal if treatment is terminated.

When should patients notify their physician?

• Black, tarry stools
• Blood in saliva or mucous
• Vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds
• Severe or persistent heartburn
• Severe abdominal or pelvic pain
• Yellowing of the eyes or skin
• Swelling of the feet or ankles
• Sudden weight gain
• Pain after eating
• Difficulty breathing, chills, lightheadedness or closing of the throat
• Allergic reactions (hives, itching, rash, tightness of chest, swelling of tongue, throat or lips)
• Fever
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
• Fatigue
• Dark urine, decreased urine
• Flu-like symptoms
• Muscle or joint pain

What is a package insert?
A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers.  A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the specific drug. Click here to view the package insert

Copyright © 2005 Cancer Consultants Last updated 01/05.

Important Limitations of Use
The information provided below on the chemotherapy drug you have selected is provided for your information only and is not a substitute for consultation with an appropriate medical doctor.  We are providing this information solely as a courtesy and, as such, it is in no way a recommendation as to the safety, efficacy or appropriateness of any particular drug, regimen, dosing schedule for any particular cancer, condition or patient nor is it in any way to be considered medical advice.   Patients should discuss the appropriateness of a particular drug or chemotherapy regimen with their physician.

As with any printed reference, the use of particular drugs, regimes and drug dosages may become out-of-date over time, since new information may have been published and become generally accepted after the latest update to this printed information.  Please keep in mind that health care professionals are fully responsible for practicing within current standards, avoiding use of outdated regimens, employing good clinical judgment in selecting drugs and/or regimens, in calculating doses for individual patients, and verifying all dosage calculations.



The prescribing physician is solely responsible for making all decisions relating to appropriate patient care including, but not limited to, drugs, regimens, dose, schedule, and any supportive care.

Tags: C, Chemotherapy

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