Meloxicam vs Celebrex

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For patients dealing with chronic pain and inflammation, certain drugs that inhibit the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances causing pain and swelling, can be a life-saver. Meloxicam and Celebrex are two such drugs that are prescribed for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Both these medications belong to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) class but they target different enzymes in the body while maintaining their primary function of reducing inflammation. Meloxicam is known as a preferential COX-2 inhibitor, meaning it primarily affects the cyclooxygenase 2 enzyme (COX-2), which specifically promotes inflammation and pain. Celebrex on the other hand is classified as a selective COX-2 inhibitor; its action is more specific to this enzyme than Meloxicam's.

What is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam (the generic name for Mobic) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was first approved by the FDA in 2000. Meloxicam works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body, making it effective for conditions such as arthritis. This medication selectively inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme involved in the production of prostaglandins which are substances contributing to inflammation.

On the other hand, Celecoxib (the brand name being Celebrex), another NSAID approved by FDA in 1998 before Meloxicam, also works similarly by blocking COX-2 enzymes to reduce pain and swelling. Although both medications have similar effects, they differ slightly in their chemical structure and potency. Celecoxib tends to be more selective towards COX-2 inhibition than Meloxicam, which may result in fewer gastrointestinal side effects but higher risk of cardiovascular events compared with non-selective NSAIDs.

What conditions is Meloxicam approved to treat?

Meloxicam has received approval for the management of the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in patients who are at least 2 years old.

Like Prozac, it may be used alone or combined with other medications to manage these conditions more effectively.

How does Meloxicam help with these illnesses?

Meloxicam helps to manage pain and inflammation by reducing the production of prostaglandins, substances in the body that cause inflammation. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which is involved in the production of these prostaglandins. Prostaglandins play a key role in processes such as inflammation, blood clotting, and stomach protection. While it's beneficial to reduce inflammatory responses with conditions like arthritis, blocking COX enzymes can also have negative effects like impairing kidney function or increasing risk of heart complications because they're present throughout the body. Therefore, meloxicam must be used judiciously under medical supervision to balance its benefits against potential risks.

What is Celebrex?

Celebrex, the brand name for celecoxib, is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) known as a COX-2 inhibitor. This means it works by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 which plays a significant role in causing inflammation and pain in the body. Celebrex was first approved by the FDA in 1999 and is primarily used to alleviate symptoms of arthritis such as joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Unlike other NSAIDs like Meloxicam, Celebrex's selective inhibition on COX-2 enzymes allows it to reduce inflammation without significantly affecting platelet function or increasing your risk of bleeding or stomach ulcers; common side effects often seen with many traditional NSAIDs. However, similar to all NSAIDs including Meloxicam, Celebrex does carry a risk of causing heart problems or stroke if taken long term or in high doses. Therefore its use can be particularly beneficial for patients who require an anti-inflammatory but are at an increased risk of gastrointestinal complications from more "typical" NSAID treatments such as Meloxicam.

What conditions is Celebrex approved to treat?

Celebrex is a prescription medication approved for the management of several medical conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis in adults
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children aged 2 years and older
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the small bones in your spine to fuse)
  • Short-term pain caused by injury
  • Menstrual pain and discomfort.

How does Celebrex help with these illnesses?

Celebrex, like meloxicam, is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) known as a COX-2 inhibitor. This class of drugs works by reducing the production of prostaglandins, chemicals that promote inflammation, pain and fever in the body. Celebrex specifically inhibits the COX-2 enzyme which is primarily responsible for producing prostaglandins after an injury or inflammatory response. Thus it effectively controls pain and reduces inflammation while causing fewer gastrointestinal side effects than traditional NSAIDs because it does not significantly inhibit COX-1 – another form of cyclooxygenase enzyme that helps protect the stomach lining. Therefore, Celebrex may be prescribed when a patient has had adverse reactions to other NSAIDS such as meloxicam or requires long-term pain management.

How effective are both Meloxicam and Celebrex?

Both meloxicam and celecoxib (Celebrex) are effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), often utilized for the management of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and other inflammatory conditions. Meloxicam was first approved by the FDA in 2000 while Celebrex received its approval a year earlier in 1999. These medications work differently as meloxicam is a non-selective inhibitor of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes while celecoxib specifically inhibits only the COX-2 enzyme.

The effectiveness of meloxicam compared to celecoxib was directly studied in multiple double-blind clinical trials; both drugs demonstrated comparable efficacy in reducing pain and inflammation associated with various arthritic conditions. A study conducted in 2004 concluded that there were no significant differences between these two treatment groups regarding pain relief or side effect profile.

Regarding safety profiles, a review published in 2016 noted that use of selective COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex might have fewer gastrointestinal side effects than non-selective NSAIDs such as meloxicam due to sparing the protective prostaglandins produced by COX-1 enzymes within the gastric mucosa. However, both medications carry similar risks related to cardiovascular health.

Meloxicam generally has once-daily dosing which may be more convenient for some patients whereas Celebrex can be taken once or twice daily depending on patient's condition and physician’s recommendation.

While both medicines can effectively manage symptoms linked with inflammatory disorders, they may offer different advantages based on an individual's specific needs - factors such as pre-existing heart disease or gastrointestinal problems should guide medication selection.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Meloxicam typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Meloxicam range from 7.5–15 mg/day, but studies have shown that a dose of 7.5 mg/day is typically sufficient for treating osteoarthritis in most people. For rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, patients may be started on a dosage of 0.125 mg/kg daily up to 7.5 mg per day. In either condition, the dosage can be increased after several weeks if there is no response to initial treatment. The maximum dosage that should not be exceeded under any circumstance is 15 mg/day.

At what dose is Celebrex typically prescribed?

Celebrex therapy typically begins with a dosage of 100–200 mg/day, taken orally. The dose can then be increased to 400 mg per day, divided into two doses, spaced approximately 12 hours apart. In certain circumstances, the maximum dose may reach up to 800 mg per day divided into two to four doses for very short-term management of severe pain conditions; however this should only be under strict medical supervision and usually not exceeding one week. This higher dose may be tested if there is no significant response to treatment at the standard daily dosages after an appropriate period of time as determined by your healthcare provider.

What are the most common side effects for Meloxicam?

Common side effects of Meloxicam could include:

  • Indigestion, nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Rash or itching skin
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs (fluid retention)
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Weakness and fatigue

On the other hand Celebrex might lead to:

  • Stomach pain and indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Susceptibility to colds
  • Dizziness
  • Gas
  • Skin rash
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Meloxicam?

While meloxicam generally has fewer side effects compared to some other NSAIDs, like Celebrex, it is not without potential risks. Some of the serious but rare side effects may include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling in your face or throat.
  • Heart-related issues such as chest pain, weakness on one part or side of your body, slurred speech and leg swelling.
  • Stomach related problems including bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
  • Liver disease symptoms: nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, flu-like symptoms; loss of appetite; dark urine; clay-colored stools; jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Kidney problems which present with little or no urination at all
  • Severe skin reactions characterized by fever sore throat burning in your eyes pain followed by a red/purple rash that spreads and causes blistering/peeling.

If you experience any severe adverse reactions when taking meloxicam it's important to seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Celebrex?

Celebrex, like many other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), has a number of potential side effects:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Nausea, diarrhea, gas
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sinusitis symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing or sore throat
  • Skin rash (although rare)
  • Insomnia and other sleep disturbances Headache or feeling faint. Remember that while these can occur they are not guaranteed to happen and some people may experience none at all. It's important to consult with your healthcare provider if any of these persist or worsen over time.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Celebrex?

Although Celebrex is a commonly prescribed medication with proven efficacy, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects. Some of these may include:

  • An allergic reaction characterized by hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Skin reactions such as rash, itching and blisters
  • Unusual weight gain or swelling (especially if accompanied by breathlessness)
  • Chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder
  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of your body
  • Slurred speech and balance problems which could be indicative of stroke
  • Stomach problems like nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine and clay-colored stools

If you experience any severe adverse reactions while taking Celebrex such as those listed above, seek immediate medical help.

Contraindications for Meloxicam and Celebrex?

Both Meloxicam and Celebrex, just like most other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may increase the risk of fatal heart attacks or strokes in some people. If you experience chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech, or problems with vision or balance while taking these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Meloxicam nor Celebrex should be taken if you are already on anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin. Always inform your physician about any medications you are currently taking; anticoagulants will require careful monitoring to prevent serious interactions with Meloxicam and Celebrex.

Long-term use of both drugs can also result in stomach bleeding and kidney problems. It's important to take the lowest dose that works for you and use it for the shortest possible time. Pregnant women should avoid using these medicines as they could harm an unborn baby especially during the last trimester.

How much do Meloxicam and Celebrex cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 30 tablets of Celebrex (200 mg) averages around $240, which works out to approximately $8/day.
  • The price for a similar quantity of Mobic (meloxicam, 15 mg) is about $140, working out to roughly $4.70/day.

Thus, if you are in the higher dosage range for meloxicam (i.e., 15 mg per day), then brand-name Celebrex is more expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you.

In terms of generic versions:

  • Meloxicam can cost as low as $0.10 - $0.60 per pill depending on dose and pack size,
  • Generic celecoxib costs between about $0.40 and up to almost$3/pill with typical dosages ranging from 100mg to 200mg daily.

Again, it's important to remember that individual health needs are paramount when choosing medication rather than focusing solely on pricing differences.

Popularity of Meloxicam and Celebrex

Meloxicam, in generic form as well as under the brand name Mobic, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 19 million people in the US in 2020. Meloxicam accounted for just over 17% of prescriptions for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is primarily used for relief from various types of pain, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The prevalence of meloxicam has been generally increasing since its introduction.

Celecoxib, known by the brand name Celebrex among others, was prescribed to around 2.4 million people in the USA during 2020. This medication accounts for just under 5% of overall NSAID prescriptions but stands out due to its selective COX-2 inhibiting properties which can offer better gastrointestinal tolerability compared to traditional NSAIDs like meloxicam. However, it should be noted that this drug carries a slightly higher risk of cardiovascular side effects than other NSAIDs and hence may not be suitable for patients with established heart disease or stroke.


Both meloxicam and Celebrex (celecoxib) have long-standing records of usage in patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Numerous clinical studies demonstrate their effectiveness in managing pain and inflammation associated with these conditions. While both drugs belong to the class of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), they differ in their selectivity for COX-2 enzymes - celecoxib is a selective COX-2 inhibitor while meloxicam inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2 but has greater selectivity for COX-2.

The choice between the two often depends on individual patient factors such as risk of gastrointestinal issues or cardiovascular disease. Celebrex may be chosen over meloxicam if there are significant concerns about stomach ulcers, due to its lower risk profile for GI complications; however, it might not be suitable for those with a history of heart disease or stroke because its selective action on COX-2 can potentially increase these risks.

Meloxicam is available as a generic medication representing significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out-of-pocket. Like all NSAIDs, these medications should provide relief relatively quickly after starting treatment.

Side effects between the two are similar including stomach upset, dizziness, or diarrhea. However, Celebrex might be less likely than Meloxicam to cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers due to its higher specificity towards inhibiting only the Cox-2 enzyme which doesn't protect gastric mucosa like Cox 1 does. For both drugs it's important that patients closely monitor any changes in symptoms when starting treatment so that necessary adjustments can made by healthcare providers promptly. If side effects persist or worsen immediate medical attention should be sought.