How to Recognize Celebrex Side Effects

Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

Celebrex is an non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. While effective in treating conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and pain, this medication may cause side effects. The following side effects may be attributed to Celebrex use:

Unusual Bleeding

Celebrex may inhibit platelet aggregation, which can cause the platelets to become less sticky and less prone to clumping. When this occurs, the blood may not clot effectively, causing unusual bleeding. While occasional use of Celebrex may not result in bleeding tendencies, larger doses or long-term use may lead to nosebleeds, blood in the urine or stools, bruising, and bleeding gums. Individuals who experience abnormal bleeding or bruising while taking Celebrex should stop taking the drug and notify their health care providers as soon as possible.

Abnormal Swelling

Celebrex may also lead to mild to moderate renal impairment. When this occurs, fluid retention can develop, causing abnormal swelling, or edema. The swelling may appear on the face, fingers, ankles, and even the abdomen. Peri-orbital edema, which is swelling around the eyes, might also develop as a result of Celebrex use. In rare cases, this medication may lead to swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or airway. This is an emergency and requires prompt medical attention.

Increasing water intake may help reduce swelling and help enhance renal performance. Celebrex-related edema typically resolves once the medication is discontinued, however, it may persist even after the drug is stopped. If swelling is persistent, the physician may need to prescribe diuretics, or "water pills" to help the patient get rid of excess fluid build-up.

Jaundice

Celebrex may also lead to jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes. This happens when the medication causes injury to the liver, however, this is rare. When jaundice occurs, the whites of the eyes, known as the sclera, turn yellow. Jaundice can also turn the urine and stool yellow as a result of an accumulation of a pigment known as bilirubin. Jaundiced skin may also itch and burn because bilirubin is very irritating to the epidermis.

Stomachache

Celebrex can also cause an upset stomach, nausea, and heartburn. Digestive symptoms can often be relieved when the drug is taken with food, however, this is not always the case. People who experience stomach discomfort as a result of taking Celebrex should discuss their symptoms with the prescribing physician. Taking antacids or acid reflux medication while taking Celebrex can improve symptoms and in many cases, completely eliminates them.

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