Celebrex contains the active ingredient, celecoxib, which is a Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor. It is a Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) used to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
An important group of hormones called prostaglandins are produced locally in the body when an injury or disease arises. The prostaglandins act as signals to control several different processes depending on the part of the body in which they are made. Prostaglandins are made at sites of tissue damage or infection, where they cause inflammation, pain and fever as part of the healing process. Prostaglandins are also involved in the formation and breakdown of blood clots as well as helping to regulate the contraction and relaxation of muscles in the gut and airways. They also regulate the female reproductive cycle and kick-start labour.
The chemical reaction that makes the prostaglandins involves several steps; the first step is carried out by an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). There are two main types of this enzyme: COX-1 and COX-2. When the body is functioning normally, baseline levels of prostaglandins are produced by the action of COX-1. When the body is injured (or inflammation occurs in any area of the body), COX-2 is activated and produces extra prostaglandins, which help the body to respond to the injury.
Prostaglandins are normally very short-lived and are broken down quickly by the body. They only carry out their actions in the immediate vicinity of where they are produced; this helps to regulate and limit their actions. However this natural response can sometimes lead to excess and long-term production of prostaglandins that contribute to diseases such as arthritis. The COX-2 inhibitor, Celebrex, reduces the level of prostaglandins thus reducing pain and inflammation.