Celecoxib for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Celebrex — its generic name is celecoxib — a medication that’s manufactured by the pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer. Since then, celecoxib has provided relief to millions of people who suffer from chronic pain and/or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

RA is a condition in which the body’s white blood cells mistakenly attack joint linings. When the lining of a joint is assaulted in this manner, it becomes inflamed. As a result of that swelling, the body releases certain proteins that can do extensive harm to the joint as well as to the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage surrounding it. The early symptoms of RA are stiff, tender, and swollen joints — in particular, the joints of the hands and the feet. Over time, this disorder progresses and can lead to continual fatigue and severe appetite suppression. However, the causes of RA, which is more common in women, are still unclear.

Fortunately, pain-relieving medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be effective in treating RA. Some of these drugs are only available with prescriptions; others are sold over the counter. According to MedicineNet.com, the NSAID celecoxib works by inhibiting Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme that can cause pain and swelling in body parts that are affected by arthritis.

Clinical studies have demonstrated that one dose of celecoxib can ease RA-related pain in an hour or less. Moreover, when a person takes 200 milligrams of this medication, he or she can enjoy its benefits for as long as 24 hours. Those benefits include lessened or eliminated pain, reduced swelling, and improved mobility.

Finally, in December 2006, the FDA endorsed Celebrex for relieving the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). That is, it deemed Celebrex to be safe for JRA patients who are at least 2 years old and who weigh at least 22 pounds. This recommendation came after an FDA study that examined the effects of Celebrex in 242 subjects ranging in age from 2 to 17.