Celebrex vs Aleve


Celebrex and Aleve both are commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that help with pain and inflammation. Though both have similar effects, they differ greatly in their mechanism of action as the active ingredients present in them are different.

Aleve has Naproxen as an active ingredient, which inhibits the enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). This helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Other than that, Aleve is also used for menstrual cramps, headaches, and arthritis.

Celebrex, on the other hand, has celecoxib as its active ingredient. Celecoxib is involved in selectively inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme, thereby helping with pain and inflammation. It is also helpful for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

About Celebrex and Aleve

What is Celebrex?

Celecoxib is the main constituent of Celebrex, which is sold on prescription only. It majorly reduces the hormones that cause pain and inflammation in the body. It is beneficial in relieving pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness, which are the main symptoms of osteoarthritis. Additionally, Celebrex is also used to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs in children of 2 years and older.

Celebrex work by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme that is involved in the production of prostaglandins. On inhibiting the enzyme, prostaglandin production will stop, which will ultimately give relief from all kinds of pain.

What conditions is Celebrex approved to treat?

Celebrex (celecoxib) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1998. Celebrex is a prescription medication that helps with swelling and damage and relieves pain. It is available as a capsule of different strengths.

Celebrex can be used to treat the following conditions:

  • Acute pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Menstruation pain
  • Gout
  • non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA)
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Collagen vascular disease
  • Felty’s Syndrome

How does Celebrex work for Pain and Inflammation?

Cyclooxygenase enzyme occurs in two forms in our body: COX-1 and COX-2, both having different roles. While COX-1 is involved in promoting blood clotting and maintaining the stomach lining, COX-2 is responsible for pain and inflammation. Celebrex selectively inhibits COX-2 and weakly inhibits COX-1.

Damage or injury in any tissue of our body leads to the activation of an enzyme phospholipase. Its activation causes the release of arachidonic acid, which is then converted into prostaglandins by COX-2. Prostaglandins are the main culprit here, as they are responsible for initiating pain and inflammation by sensitizing the pain receptors.

The drug Celebrex inhibits the COX-2 enzyme. Without this, there will be no production of prostaglandins. As a result, patients get relief from pain and inflammation. It also helps improve joint mobility in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

What is Aleve?

Aleve has Naproxen as its major constituent. It is an over-the-counter drug and belongs to the class NSAIDs. This drug has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and is used as a first-line treatment for dysmenorrhea, osteoarthritis, and musculoskeletal pain and inflammation. Naproxen also has its uses in treating acute migraine and preventing chronic migraine.

Aleve acts by preventing the production of prostaglandins. Our body naturally produces prostaglandins in response to damaged tissue. They sensitize the pain receptors and thus cause pain and inflammation in that region. By preventing their production, Aleve helps alleviate pain and soothes inflammation.

What conditions is Aleve approved to treat?

Aleve was approved by the FDA in 1999. Naproxen is its main constituent, available as prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. It majorly helps with pain and inflammation in different body parts.

Here is what Naproxen can help with:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout attacks
  • Sprains and strains
  • Muscle pain and aches
  • Headache
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Musculoskeletal pain

How does Aleve work for Pain and Inflammation?

The active ingredient in Aleve is Naproxen. Naproxen is a competitive inhibitor of the enzymes cyclooxygenases. It prevents the binding of arachidonate, which has to be converted to prostaglandin. As a result, no prostaglandin is produced.

COX-2 is present in the brain only, while COX-1 is expressed in various tissues, including kidneys, bones, and reproductive organs. Prostaglandin production by COX-1 is due to the stimulation of circulating hormones and maintaining homeostasis. COX-2, on the other hand, can be induced in various cells in response to specific inflammation mediators.

Naproxen leads to decreased prostaglandin production as it inhibits the enzymes COX-1 and COX-2. Naproxen targets both these enzymes, but its effects are more selective for COX-1. Since prostaglandins E and F are majorly responsible for sensitizing the pain receptors, Naproxen, therefore, has an analgesic effect as it further inhibits prostaglandin production.

Aleve suppresses the inflammatory response of the body by decreasing blood vessel dilation and reducing the immune cells' migration to the inflammation site. This helps reduce discomfort and swelling.

Besides the positive effects, NSAIDs have risks and potential side effects as well. The important ones are kidney problems and cardiovascular issues. Therefore, it is recommended to follow the recommendation of your physician and make him aware of any pre-existing conditions to avoid severe side effects.


How effective are Celebrex and Aleve for treating Pain and Inflammation?

The onset and duration of action of Celebrex and Aleve vary among patients depending on a number of factors. The major ones include individual response to the medication and the condition being treated.

Aleve, in general, has a fast onset time compared to Celebrex. The former alleviates pain within one hour after taking the medication. However, its effects last for 12 hours. So the patient should wait at least 12 hours before taking the next dose.

Celebrex, on the other hand, starts working a few hours after the medication is taken. Its effects last for 24 hours. The full therapeutic effects can be achieved in several days.

Dosage Information

How is Celebrex administered for Pain and Inflammation?

Celebrex is available in the form of a capsule that is administrated orally for pain and inflammation caused by arthritis or any other tissue damage. Celebrex is available in 50, 100, 200, and 400 mg doses.

Celebrex dosage information

celebrex dosage

How is Aleve administered for Pain and Inflammation?

Aleve is available in the following forms:

  • Tablets
  • Gelcaps
  • Caplets
  • Liquid gels

For the first dose, adults can consume 2 pills within the first hour. However, it should not exceed more than 3 tablets within 24 hours.

Aleve dosage information

aleve dosage

Side Effects

What are the most common side effects of Celebrex?

The following are some most common side effects of Celebrex:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Sore throat
  • Gas or bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Rash
  • Edema
  • Tinnitus
  • Flatulence
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

Are there any potential serious side effects of Celebrex?

Celebrex does have some serious side effects that usually occur when consumed in a high dose. They include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Bleeding in the stomach or bowel
  • Severe skin reactions
  • Liver damage
  • Gastrointestinal complications in adults
  • Anemia
  • Severe digestive problems
  • Nose bleeding due to high blood pressure

What are the most common side effects of Aleve?

People who dose on Aleve experience the following most common side effects:

  • Tinnitus
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Swelling
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Edema
  • Flatulence
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach pain

Are there any potential serious side effects of Aleve?

Besides helping with pain and inflammation, Aleve has some serious side effects. The following are the serious side effects of Aleve.

  • Fatal liver disease
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Mood changes
  • Kidney problems
  • Cardiovascular events
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Severe skin reaction
  • Anemia
  • Stomach bleeding

Contraindications and interactions

Warnings and general precautions for Celebrex and Aleve

Both Celebrex and Aleve can increase the risk of kidney problems and cardiovascular events. Allergic reactions are also common among the individuals who use these drugs. Remember to visit your doctor to check the progress.

It is particularly problematic for pregnant women. You should inform the doctor if you become pregnant while using these drugs.

It also increases the risk of heart attack, especially in patients who dose on Celebrex and Aleve for a longer time.

It is necessary to consult the doctor in case you observe any side effects. Follow the doctor's recommendation and do not exceed the medication's limit.

Contraindications and important interactions for Celebrex and Aleve


Cost Comparison

How much do Celebrex and Aleve cost?

The prices of drugs vary significantly depending on the location and pharmacy. However, we can estimate their average price.

Celebrex oral capsules are available in four different strengths. The strengths, along with their prices, are given below:

  • 50 mg Celebrex costs $290 for 60 capsules
  • 100 mg Celebrex costs $1013 for 100 capsules
  • 200 mg Celebrex costs $244 for 30 capsules
  • 400 mg Celebrex costs $1491 for 60 capsules

Aleve, on the other hand, is available in different forms and strengths, including capsules and tablets. Their prices are given below:

  • 220 mg Aleve costs $8 for 24 tablets
  • 220 mg Aleve costs $7.64 for 24 capsules

Popularity of Celebrex and Aleve

Both Celebrex and Aleve have gained immense popularity due to their ability to treat pain and inflammation effectively. Aleve has proved to be more popular since it is both a prescription medicine and an over-the-counter drug. There were about 1.8 million users of Celebrex in the US in 2020, while 3.3 million people were reported to be using Aleve in the US in 2020.

Since Celebrex has been available as a prescription medicine only, its accessibility was limited.



Celebrex and Aleve are both NSAIDs that reduce the production of prostaglandins in the body, as it is responsible for initiating pain and inflammation. Both drugs are highly effective against swelling and pain; therefore, they also work against various types of arthritis.

Undoubtedly, both medicines are top-notch in alleviating the symptoms of pain and inflammation. However, they have different onset times and different mechanisms of action, which makes them appropriate for some. Therefore, it is necessary to consult a healthcare professional to get the most accurate recommendation based on your condition.