Meloxicam vs. Celecoxib

Instructor: Kaitlin Baker

Kaitlin has taught nursing students and has a master's degree in nursing leaderhsip, as well as a bachelor's degree in English literature.

This lesson will compare two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications: meloxicam (Mobic) and celecoxib (Celebrex). You will learn to compare and contrast both drugs based on how they work, effectiveness in pain relief, and side effects and risk considerations.

Aches and Pains from Arthritis: NSAIDs to the Rescue

Suppose you are suffering from arthritis. Your knees and fingers are painful and swollen, and you are starting to really miss crawling around on the floor with your nieces and nephews like you used to. You have heard some commercials for celecoxib (brand name Celebrex) and meloxicam (brand name Mobic), and you would like to try one of these to see if it helps your arthritis. Both of these drugs are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), but you are not sure which one would be better for you. You make an appointment with your doctor, but in the meantime you decide to do some research on the two medications. You would like to know how they work and for what conditions, how well they will work to relieve your pain, and what side effects you should watch out for.

Mobic and Celebrex: NSAIDs and How they Work

You have almost certainly heard of aspirin and ibuprofen; these are common NSAIDs, and like Mobic and Celebrex, they relieve pain by blocking production of prostaglandins (pain-signaling molecules) in the body. Prostaglandins play a role in pain, swelling, and fever, as well as cramps and aches in the muscles. One step in blocking prostaglandins involves a type of enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX); Mobic and Celebrex block a type called COX-2, which is how these NSAIDs relieve pain and swelling.

Mobic is approved to treat both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis in adults. Mobic starts working within 1 hour and lasts up to 24 hours, so it only needs to be taken once a day.

Celebrex is approved for treating the same conditions as Mobic, as well as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis (arthritis of the spine), and severe menstrual cramps. Celebrex starts working within 1 hour, but only lasts up to 8 hours, so it must be taken more frequently: usually twice a day.

NSAIDs like Celebrex and Mobic can help reduce pain and swelling related to arthritis.

Mobic and Celebrex: Effectiveness

You also want to know how well either of these drugs will help your knee pain from arthritis. You don't want to take something that is barely going to help.

In people who benefit from NSAIDs in general, their pain is reduced an average of 50 percent. In comparing one NSAID to another, hundreds of studies have been done and no significant or consistent differences have been shown.

Mobic and Celebrex: Side Effects and Risks

But what about side effects? You want to make sure that whichever drug you decide to take is not likely to cause you harm or distress.

Mobic and Celebrex: Side Effects

In general, any side effect that NSAIDs cause are likely to be minor and include upset stomach, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

  • Side effects common to Mobic include: upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and heartburn; dizziness; diarrhea, constipation, and gas; or cold and flu-like symptoms.
  • Side effects common to Celebrex include: diarrhea, gas, nausea, and heartburn; dizziness or drowsiness; or cold and flu-like symptoms.

Mobic and Celebrex: Risks

Gastrointestinal Risk

You will remember that Mobic and Celebrex both work by blocking COX-2 enzymes that lead to pain and inflammation. Although this helps them work effectively, this also leads to some of their risks. In blocking COX-2, NSAIDs also block COX-1, which normally helps protect the stomach lining. When COX-1 is blocked, there is increased risk of stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. Celebrex has been found to be less likely to cause GI problems and bleeding than Mobic.

Heart Risk

Both NSAIDs can also cause or worsen high blood pressure. Mobic has been found to have lower heart risks than Celebrex.

Kidney Risk

Mobic and Celebrex, along with other NSAIDs have been associated with kidney failure. Mobic has been found to have lower kidney risks than Celebrex.

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