Summary: Celebrex and Ibuprofen are both in the same class but have different side effects because of differences in how they act in your body. Using Ibuprofen once in a while for a short amount of time would probably be OK, but I doubt it will give you a lot more pain relief. I would also look at other options to help your joints like the types of foods you eat and getting more omega-3 fatty acids.
Dear Curtis: I’m 64 and I take Celebrex for my arthritis. What I’d like to know is if I can safely take Ibuprofen once in a while along with the Celebrex? Or will it cause dangerous side effects?
Celebrex and Ibuprofen are both considered NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). However, the way that they act in your body is slightly different. Celebrex is more selective but Ibuprofen has a more widespread, non-selective action.
This explains why a non-selective NSAID, like aspirin, can be used to help with heart problems and Celebrex can’t. In fact, as you probably already know, Celebrex has been linked to a higher risk of cardiac events.
While you didn’t mention it, one of the biggest reasons why patients are put on Celebrex (which costs a lot more than other NSAIDs) is because of the higher risk of bleeding and stomach ulcer issues with the non-selective NSAIDs like Ibuprofen.
So, if you have a history of stomach ulcers or any sort of sensitivity to other NSAIDs it’s likely not a very good idea to use Ibuprofen.
Of course, this is something that you have to discuss with your doctor. But as far as there being any concrete reason why the two drugs absolutely can’t be taken together, there isn’t one. However, it’s an area I’d tread very lightly with and I personally don’t see you gaining that much more benefit and pain control from doing it versus the risk that you take on if you have any sort of stomach problems.
In short, I don’t think taking Ibuprofen every once in a while would be a problem unless you have stomach problems. But I would not take it regularly or for any extended periods of time. Again, double check this with your doctor.
Also, remember that arthritis is all about inflammation. If you can remove foods from your diet that cause, or promote, inflammation you’ll be ahead of the game. Most American’s eat way too many of these types of foods.
For example, grains in the form of breads and so forth are big ones. Perhaps try and lower, or better yet, completely get rid of these foods from your diet and give yourself plenty of time (at the very least six to eight weeks) to see if it’s helping at all. The same with trans fats (usual cooking oils).
Also, there are certain foods you might want to include and eat more of that have been shown to actually lower inflammation like omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, mackerel, oysters, walnuts, etc.).
Finally, if you really want to try and improve your arthritis naturally you may want to give a good, high quality fish oil a shot. This is a quick way to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. If you need some more information, you can read this article I wrote on selecting a good fish oil.