Celecoxib (sell-le-cox-ib) is an anti-inflammatory medicine that is used to treat pain and inflammation (swelling). Your child may be prescribed celecoxib to treat pain after surgery or for other conditions such as arthritis.
Celecoxib is made by many different companies, and different brands of the same medicine have different names (e.g. Celebrex, Celexi, Celaxib).
Before giving your child celecoxib, you should tell your doctor if your child has an allergy to celecoxib, other anti-inflammatory medicines including ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) or sulphonamide medicines such as sulphamethoxazole (e.g. Bactrim).
Giving your child celecoxib
Your child’s doctor will work out the amount (the dose) of celecoxib that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.
Celecoxib is usually only prescribed for a few days to a week after surgery. It can be used for longer when it is prescribed for other conditions (e.g. arthritis). Celecoxib will start to work about 30 minutes to one hour after it is given.
Celecoxib is available as 100mg and 200mg capsules. The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) pharmacy department also prepares a 10mg/mL mixture for children who require small doses, but this is only available for patients who have a prescription written by an RCH doctor. Your doctor or pharmacist will advise which product is most suitable for your child.
When should I give celecoxib?
Celecoxib is usually given twice each day, as directed by your doctor. It is recommended that your child takes celecoxib with food and has plenty of water to drink throughout the day to reduce the chance of unwanted side effects.
Try to give celecoxib around the same times each day. If more than one person usually gives your child their medication, make sure that you communicate and write down doses given so that you don’t give extra doses by mistake.
- Celecoxib capsules can be swallowed whole with a glass of water. If your child is unable to swallow capsules, open the capsule and mix the contents with a teaspoon of apple puree or a small amount of water.
- Celecoxib mixture should be given from an oral syringe used to measure the dose according to the medicine label. Always shake the bottle well before measuring the dose.
- If celecoxib mixture is not available and your child requires a small dose, your pharmacist will provide instructions on how to mix the capsule contents with water and measure the right dose for your child.
What to do if a dose is missed
If you miss a dose of celecoxib, it can be given as soon as you remember, as long as this is at least six hours before the next dose is due. Otherwise, skip the missed dose and continue giving the medicine at the normal times.
- Never give a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
- You do not need to wake a sleeping child to give a missed dose.
What to do if you give too much celecoxib
If you think you have given your child too much celecoxib, call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 as soon as possible, even if your child shows no symptoms. In the case of an emergency, call an ambulance or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency department. Have the medicine container or packaging with you, even if it is empty, as this information will be useful.
Possible side effects
Medicines are designed to make us better, but sometimes they have unwanted effects (side effects). Some side effects will go away with time, or after the dose has been changed.
Speak to your child’s doctor if you are worried about any of the following:
- upset stomach (e.g. nausea, diarrhoea, heartburn)
- swelling of the hands, feet or ankles
- bleeding from the gums.
Contact your doctor or hospital immediately if your child has the following:
- difficulty breathing
- weakness in the arms or legs
- blood in their vomit (or vomit that is a brown colour)
- blood in their urine (wee)
- blood in their faeces (poo) or black faeces
- any signs of an allergic reaction (skin rash, swelling of the lips, mouth or throat).
There may be other side effects that are not listed in this fact sheet. If you notice anything unusual or are concerned about your child, contact your doctor.
General medicine advice
- Give celecoxib only as directed and only to the person who the medicine was prescribed for. Never give it to another person, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
- If your child requires surgery, including dental surgery, you must tell your doctor or dentist that your child is taking celecoxib. Celecoxib may have to be stopped before surgery. Your child’s healthcare team will give you instructions on how to stop the medicine.
- Store celecoxib capsules and mixture at room temperature, in a cool, dry place away from heat or direct sunlight, below 25°C.
- Celecoxib mixture has a short shelf life, take note of the expiry date on the label.
- Store all medicines out of reach of children and always keep medicine in the container or box that it came in.
Key points to remember
- Celecoxib is a medicine that is used to treat pain and inflammation (swelling).
- It is recommended that your child takes celecoxib with food to reduce the chance of unwanted side effects.
- Contact your doctor or hospital immediately if your child develops any chest pain, breathing difficulties or bleeding without a reason, including blood in their vomit, urine or faeces.
- If your child requires surgery or dental work, you must tell your doctor or dentist that your child is taking celecoxib.
For more information
- This fact sheet has been developed to provide practical advice about the use of this medication in children and should be read in addition to the information supplied by the manufacturer which can be found at NPS MedicineWise.
- Kids Health Info fact sheet: Medicines for children and medicine reactions
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
- The Therapeutic Goods Administration: Consumers
Common questions our doctors are asked
What if my child vomits after taking celecoxib?
If your child vomits within 30 minutes of having a dose of celecoxib, give the same dose again. If your child vomits more than 30 minutes after having a dose of celecoxib, you do not need to give them another dose.
Can other medicines be given at the same time as celecoxib?
Care must be taken when using celecoxib with some other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other medicines your child is taking before starting celecoxib. This includes prescription medicine, medicine purchased from a pharmacy or supermarket without a prescription, and herbal or complementary medicines.
My child is a patient of the RCH, how do I order more celecoxib?
Celecoxib is usually only required for short-term treatment. Patients who have a prescription written by an RCH doctor may have celecoxib mixture prepared by the RCH pharmacy department as needed. Please contact RCH pharmacy department on (03) 9345 5449 or email@example.com to arrange another supply at least five working days before you will run out of the mixture.
Developed by The Royal Children's Medication Safety Committee and Children’s Pain Management Service. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Developed March 2019.
This information is awaiting routine review. Please always seek the most recent advice from a registered and practising clinician.
Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.