Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Arthritis and Stomach Ulcers?

Study Finds Celebrex No Safer Than NSAIDs in Preventing Recurring Bleeding


This finding is significant because one in four patients who routinely take NSAIDs for arthritis relief develop some signs of these stomach, or peptic, ulcers. Each year, about 4% of these patients develop full-blown bleeding ulcers. "Once you have an ulcer that bleeds, they are extremely difficult to heal and recur almost the day you start taking NSAIDS again," says Graham.

Besides NSAID use, the other primary cause of peptic ulcers is infection by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium that afflicts about one in five Americans younger than age 40 and as many as half of those older than 60. Both NSAIDs and H. pylori weaken the protective mucous coating of the stomach and duodenum, the upper portion of the intestines, allowing acid to eat into this lining, causing an ulcer.

Because of the high rate of peptic ulcers associated with NSAID use, arthritis patients were often left with a dilemma: Manage the arthritis pain and risk serious stomach complications or manage the ulcer and live with the pain. Then along came Celebrex -- and months later, Vioxx, which promised freedom from both problems.

But the new study found that "rates of recurrent ulcer bleeding were substantial" in both the 144 participants who took Celebrex and the 143 who received diclofenac (sold as Voltaren or Cataflam) plus Prilosec, which previous studies indicate helps protect against these ulcers. All 287 study participants had tested negative for H. pylori infection.

"The prediction has been that COX-2 inhibitors would not be associated with this recurrence," Graham tells WebMD. "But now, it's clear that we need to do more to find out what we can do for these high-risk patients. The question is, what?"

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Mature woman exercise at home
Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
feet with gout
Quiz yourself.
woman in pain
One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
senior couple walking
Can you keep your RA from progressing?
xray of knees with osteoarthritis
close up of man wearing dress shoes
feet with gout
close up of red shoe in shoebox
two male hands
Woman massaging her neck
5 Lupus Risk Factors