A study released the other day compared the safety of Celebrex, Naproxen and Ibuprofen.  At the doses tested, the study noted that Celebrex might be safer than Naproxen or Ibuprofen.  Referred to as the Precision Trial, the study results are already being called into question.  The Precision trial studied doses of Ibuprofen up to 1800mg a day and Naproxen doses also near their maximum recommended dose- but used more mild dosing of Celebrex.

The Precision Trial reported that patients taking high dose Ibuprofen (Motrin) and Naproxen (Alleve) had a higher incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding.  It found that patients on Ibuprofen had a higher incidence of kidney disease and hypertension significant enough to warrant hospitalization.  The trial found that Celebrex probably does not have a higher incidence of causing heart attacks, as once believed.  But the authors only used a 200 mg maximum daily dose of Celebrex, which is lower than its maximal dose and may not cause as many side effects as high dose Motrin or Alleve.

The take home message is simply that long term use of anti-inflammatories such as Celebrex, Motrin or Alleve can cause multiple serious potential side effects.

Most Common Side Effects of Celebrex, Ibuprofen and Naproxen:

  • Higher risk of asthma attacks
  • Serious, sometimes life threatening bleeding.
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Long term kidney damage leading to kidney failure
  • ? heart attacks or stroke

Can Celebrex, Ibuprofen and Naproxen Affect Healing?

Anti-inflammtories such as Celebrex and Ibuprofen are also coming under fire for possibly preventing certain injuries and fractures from healing well.  Remember, inflammation is healing.  So downing a bunch of Motrin after an ankle sprain or hamstring injury might, repeat might actually cause a lesser healing response and potentially lead to a higher risk of re-injury. Taking Celebrex or ibuprofen can increase oxidative stress in your body during exercise.

Very few, if any medications are without risk.  The most reasonable take home message from the Precision Trial is that Celebrex probably isn’t any more risky than other more popular OTC NSAID medications such as Alleve and Motrin.  All of these medication should not be taken at doses higher than stated on the bottle.  Most of you would prefer to have a little more ankle pain rather than a bleeding episode or chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis.  These medications are not as safe as most believe them to be.  They do not lead to healing… and may actually prevent healing.  You should be very judicious in your use of Celebrex, Naproxen and Ibuprofen.




Disclaimer:  this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.

Related Posts

About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.