Drug vs. Drug

Celebrex vs Naproxen: Main Differences and Similarities

By | June 24, 2019

Celebrex (celecoxib) and naproxen are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can treat pain and swelling from arthritis and menstrual cramps. Both drugs work to decrease the production of prostaglandins (chemical substances responsible for pain and inflammation) by blocking COX enzymes. While both drugs work in similar ways, they also have some differences in how they are used.

Celebrex

Celebrex is the brand name for celecoxib. It is a selective COX-2 inhibitor that can reduce pain and inflammation. Because it is selective for COX-2 enzymes, it blocks prostaglandin production while decreasing the risk of side effects such as stomach ulcers.

Celebrex can treat pain from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. It can also treat acute pain and pain from severe menstrual cramps. Celebrex can be taken as a 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, or 400 mg oral capsule. It is often taken twice daily depending on the condition being treated.

Naproxen

Naproxen is also known by its brand names, Aleve, Anaprox, and Naprelan. Naproxen is a nonselective COX inhibitor that blocks both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Therefore, it may have a higher risk of stomach ulcers compared to other NSAIDs.

Naproxen is indicated to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. It can also relieve pain from tendonitis, gout, and menstrual cramps. Naproxen is available over the counter or with a prescription in higher doses. It is usually taken twice daily depending on the dose and condition being treated.

Celebrex vs Naproxen Side by Side Comparison

Celebrex and Naproxen are similar drugs for pain and inflammation. Their differences and similarities can be found in the table below.

Celebrex Naproxen
Prescribed For
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Acute pain
  • Primary dysmenorrhea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Acute pain
  • Primary dysmenorrhea
  • Gout
  • Tendinitis
Drug Classification
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Manufacturer
  • Generic
Common Side Effects
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach ache
  • Flatulence
  • Peripheral edema
  • Accidental injury
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Respiratory infection
  • Sore throat
  • Sinusitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Stomach ache
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Headache
Is there a generic?
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies according to your provider
  • Varies according to your provider
Dosage Forms
  • Oral capsule
  • Oral tablet
  • Oral tablet, enteric coated
  • Oral suspension
Average Cash Price
  • $217 for a supply of 30, 200 mg capsules
  • $60 for a supply of 60 tablets of Naproxen 500 mg
SingleCare Discount Price
Drug Interactions
  • Warfarin
  • Aspirin
  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Pemetrexed
  • SSRIs/SNRIs
  • Antihypertensives (ACE inhibitors, ARBs, Beta blockers, Diuretics)
  • Alcohol
  • Lithium
  • Digoxin
  • CYP2C9 inhibitors or inducers (fluconazole, rifampin, etc.)
  • CYP2D6 substrates (atomoxetine, amphetamines, desipramine, etc.)
  • Warfarin
  • Aspirin
  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Pemetrexed
  • SSRIs/SNRIs
  • Antihypertensives (ACE inhibitors, ARBs, Beta blockers, Diuretics)
  • Alcohol
  • Lithium
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Celebrex is in Pregnancy Category D. Therefore, it should not be taken during pregnancy. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take while planning pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Naproxen is in Pregnancy Category C. Some data shows possible fetal harm. Consult a physician regarding taking Naproxen while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Summary

Celebrex and Naproxen are NSAIDs that can treat pain from arthritis and menstrual cramps. Naproxen can also treat pain from gout and tendonitis.

Celebrex is a COX-1 selective inhibitor while naproxen is a nonselective COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitor. Therefore, they work slightly differently.

Celebrex is taken as an oral capsule while naproxen is taken as an oral tablet. Celebrex can only be obtained with a prescription. Naproxen can be obtained over the counter or with a prescription. Both drugs are usually taken twice daily to relieve pain depending on the severity.

Both drugs have similar side effects and drug interactions. Celebrex, however, is recommended for those at high risk of stomach ulcers. Because naproxen is a nonselective COX inhibitor, it may have a higher risk of stomach ulcers. Still, both drugs should be cautioned in those with a strong history of stomach ulcers, heart attacks, and strokes.

Talk with your doctor when deciding which NSAID may be best for your pain. Based on your overall medical history, one medication may be preferred over the other.