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CELEBREX® (celecoxib) Clinical Pharmacology


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Celecoxib has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic properties.

The mechanism of action of CELEBREX is believed to be due to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, primarily via inhibition of COX-2.

Celecoxib is a potent inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis in vitro. Celecoxib concentrations reached during therapy have produced in vivo effects. Prostaglandins sensitize afferent nerves and potentiate the action of bradykinin in inducing pain in animal models. Prostaglandins are mediators of inflammation. Since celecoxib is an inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis, its mode of action may be due to a decrease of prostaglandins in peripheral tissues.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics


In clinical trials using normal volunteers, CELEBREX at single doses up to 800 mg and multiple doses of 600 mg twice daily for up to 7 days duration (higher than recommended therapeutic doses) had no effect on reduction of platelet aggregation or increase in bleeding time. Because of its lack of platelet effects, CELEBREX is not a substitute for aspirin for cardiovascular prophylaxis. It is not known if there are any effects of CELEBREX on platelets that may contribute to the increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic adverse events associated with the use of CELEBREX.

Fluid Retention

Inhibition of PGE2 synthesis may lead to sodium and water retention through increased reabsorption in the renal medullary thick ascending loop of Henle and perhaps other segments of the distal nephron. In the collecting ducts, PGE2 appears to inhibit water reabsorption by counteracting the action of antidiuretic hormone.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Celecoxib exhibits dose-proportional increase in exposure after oral administration up to 200 mg twice daily and less than proportional increase at higher doses. It has extensive distribution and high protein binding. It is primarily metabolized by CYP2C9 with a half-life of approximately 11 hours.


Peak plasma levels of celecoxib occur approximately 3 hours after an oral dose. Under fasting conditions, both peak plasma levels (Cmax) and area under the curve (AUC) are roughly dose-proportional up to 200 mg twice daily; at higher doses there are less than proportional increases in Cmax and AUC [see Food Effects]. Absolute bioavailability studies have not been conducted. With multiple dosing, steady-state conditions are reached on or before Day 5. The pharmacokinetic parameters of celecoxib in a group of healthy subjects are shown in Table 4.

Table 4 Summary of Single Dose (200 mg) Disposition Kinetics of Celecoxib in Healthy Subjects*
Mean (%CV) PK Parameter Values
Cmax, ng/mLTmax, hrEffective t1/2, hrVss/F, LCL/F, L/hr
Subjects under fasting conditions (n=36, 19–52 yrs.)
705 (38)2.8 (37)11.2 (31)429 (34)27.7 (28)

Food Effects

When CELEBREX capsules were taken with a high fat meal, peak plasma levels were delayed for about 1 to 2 hours with an increase in total absorption (AUC) of 10% to 20%. Under fasting conditions, at doses above 200 mg, there is less than a proportional increase in Cmax and AUC, which is thought to be due to the low solubility of the drug in aqueous media.

Coadministration of CELEBREX with an aluminum- and magnesium-containing antacids resulted in a reduction in plasma celecoxib concentrations with a decrease of 37% in Cmax and 10% in AUC. CELEBREX, at doses up to 200 mg twice daily, can be administered without regard to timing of meals. Higher doses (400 mg twice daily) should be administered with food to improve absorption.

In healthy adult volunteers, the overall systemic exposure (AUC) of celecoxib was equivalent when celecoxib was administered as intact capsule or capsule contents sprinkled on applesauce. There were no significant alterations in Cmax, Tmax or t1/2 after administration of capsule contents on applesauce [see Dosage and Administration (2)].


In healthy subjects, celecoxib is highly protein bound (~97%) within the clinical dose range. In vitro studies indicate that celecoxib binds primarily to albumin and, to a lesser extent, α1-acid glycoprotein. The apparent volume of distribution at steady state (Vss/F) is approximately 400 L, suggesting extensive distribution into the tissues. Celecoxib is not preferentially bound to red blood cells.



Celecoxib metabolism is primarily mediated via CYP2C9. Three metabolites, a primary alcohol, the corresponding carboxylic acid and its glucuronide conjugate, have been identified in human plasma. These metabolites are inactive as COX-1 or COX-2 inhibitors.


Celecoxib is eliminated predominantly by hepatic metabolism with little (<3%) unchanged drug recovered in the urine and feces. Following a single oral dose of radiolabeled drug, approximately 57% of the dose was excreted in the feces and 27% was excreted into the urine. The primary metabolite in both urine and feces was the carboxylic acid metabolite (73% of dose) with low amounts of the glucuronide also appearing in the urine. It appears that the low solubility of the drug prolongs the absorption process making terminal half-life (t1/2) determinations more variable. The effective half-life is approximately 11 hours under fasted conditions. The apparent plasma clearance (CL/F) is about 500 mL/min.

Specific Populations


At steady state, elderly subjects (over 65 years old) had a 40% higher Cmax and a 50% higher AUC compared to the young subjects. In elderly females, celecoxib Cmax and AUC are higher than those for elderly males, but these increases are predominantly due to lower body weight in elderly females. Dose adjustment in the elderly is not generally necessary. However, for patients of less than 50 kg in body weight, initiate therapy at the lowest recommended dose [see Dosage and Administration (2.7) and Use in Specific Populations (8.5)].


The steady state pharmacokinetics of celecoxib administered as an investigational oral suspension was evaluated in 152 JRA patients 2 years to 17 years of age weighing ≥10 kg with pauciarticular or polyarticular course JRA and in patients with systemic onset JRA. Population pharmacokinetic analysis indicated that the oral clearance (unadjusted for body weight) of celecoxib increases less than proportionally to increasing weight, with 10 kg and 25 kg patients predicted to have 40% and 24% lower clearance, respectively, compared with a 70 kg adult RA patient.

Twice-daily administration of 50 mg capsules to JRA patients weighing ≥12 to ≤25 kg and 100 mg capsules to JRA patients weighing >25 kg should achieve plasma concentrations similar to those observed in a clinical trial that demonstrated the non-inferiority of celecoxib to naproxen 7.5 mg/kg twice daily [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)]. Celecoxib has not been studied in JRA patients under the age of 2 years, in patients with body weight less than 10 kg (22 lbs), or beyond 24 weeks.


Meta-analysis of pharmacokinetic studies has suggested an approximately 40% higher AUC of celecoxib in Blacks compared to Caucasians. The cause and clinical significance of this finding is unknown.

Hepatic Impairment

A pharmacokinetic study in subjects with mild (Child-Pugh Class A) and moderate (Child-Pugh Class B) hepatic impairment has shown that steady-state celecoxib AUC is increased about 40% and 180%, respectively, above that seen in healthy control subjects. Therefore, the daily recommended dose of CELEBREX capsules should be reduced by approximately 50% in patients with moderate (Child-Pugh Class B) hepatic impairment. Patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class C) have not been studied. The use of CELEBREX in patients with severe hepatic impairment is not recommended [see Dosage and Administration (2.6) and Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].

Renal Impairment

In a cross-study comparison, celecoxib AUC was approximately 40% lower in patients with chronic renal insufficiency (GFR 35–60 mL/min) than that seen in subjects with normal renal function. No significant relationship was found between GFR and celecoxib clearance. Patients with severe renal insufficiency have not been studied. Similar to other NSAIDs, CELEBREX is not recommended in patients with severe renal insufficiency [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].

Drug Interaction Studies

In vitro studies indicate that celecoxib is not an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 2C9, 2C19 or 3A4.

In vivo studies have shown the following:


When NSAIDs were administered with aspirin, the protein binding of NSAIDs were reduced, although the clearance of free NSAID was not altered. The clinical significance of this interaction is not known. See Table 3 for clinically significant drug interactions of NSAIDs with aspirin [see Drug Interactions (7)].


In a study conducted in healthy subjects, mean steady-state lithium plasma levels increased approximately 17% in subjects receiving lithium 450 mg twice daily with CELEBREX 200 mg twice daily as compared to subjects receiving lithium alone [see Drug Interactions (7)].


Concomitant administration of fluconazole at 200 mg once daily resulted in a two-fold increase in celecoxib plasma concentration. This increase is due to the inhibition of celecoxib metabolism via P450 2C9 by fluconazole [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Other Drugs

The effects of celecoxib on the pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics of glyburide, ketoconazole, [see Drug Interactions (7)], phenytoin, and tolbutamide have been studied in vivo and clinically important interactions have not been found.

12.5 Pharmacogenomics

CYP2C9 activity is reduced in individuals with genetic polymorphisms that lead to reduced enzyme activity, such as those homozygous for the CYP2C9*2 and CYP2C9*3 polymorphisms. Limited data from 4 published reports that included a total of 8 subjects with the homozygous CYP2C9*3/*3 genotype showed celecoxib systemic levels that were 3- to 7-fold higher in these subjects compared to subjects with CYP2C9*1/*1 or *I/*3 genotypes. The pharmacokinetics of celecoxib have not been evaluated in subjects with other CYP2C9 polymorphisms, such as *2, *5, *6, *9 and *11. It is estimated that the frequency of the homozygous *3/*3 genotype is 0.3% to 1.0% in various ethnic groups [see Dosage and Administration (2.6), Use in Specific Populations (8.8)].

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