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

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

Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Font Size

New Prevention Weapon for Those at Risk for Colon Cancer

WebMD Health News

June 28, 2000 -- There's good news for people with a rare inherited colon disease, reports TheNew England Journal of Medicine. The disease, called familial adenomatous polyposis, causes polyps in the colon that lead to cancer in nearly 100% of all cases. The report shows that the arthritis drug Celebrex reduces these polyps by 30%.

And for those who the drug could benefit, no wait is required. Celebrex received FDA approval for this use in December 1999. It was first approved for arthritis about a year earlier.

Polyps are masses of tissue that bulge out from the walls of the intestines, and since people with this disease begin to form these polyps at around 10 years of age, use of Celebrex may allow them to delay surgery until they are through their teen years.

Right now, the only cure for the disease is removing the colon through surgery. Without surgery, these patients will almost certainly go on to develop colon cancer. Although polyps are often removed one by one, the sheer number of polyps in this disease makes singular removal nearly impossible.

The study looked at nearly 80 patients with the disease and gave them the study drug at either a 100-mg or 400-mg dose, or they received a placebo (dummy pill). Those who received the 400-mg dose twice a day had the 30% reduction of polyps.

"We now have something we can feel reasonably good about using as an agent that will delay surgery," Patrick M. Lynch, MD, tells WebMD. This could enable these younger patients to undertake surgery when they are more emotionally ready for its consequences. Lynch, one of the researchers, is an associate professor of medicine in the department of gastrointestinal medical oncology and digestive disease at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The study also was conducted at St. Marks Hospital in London.

This 30% reduction of polyps also was seen with another arthritis drug, Clinoril, Lynch says. Clinoril and other drugs in its class, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, act similarly to Celebrex. However, they have some serious side effects, such as bleeding in the stomach and intestines. Celebrex does not appear to have these same side effects.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
The right diagnosis is the most important factor.
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
bladder cancer x-ray
Do you know the warning signs?
Colon vs Rectal Cancer
New Colorectal Treatments
can lack of sleep affect your immune system
Cancer Facts Quiz
Virtual Colonoscopy
Picture of the Colon
Vitamin D