The discovery of the two isoenzymes of cyclooxygenase (COX) has recently lead to the development and clinical introduction of specific inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), such as celecoxib, onto the market. Celecoxib is an effective anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic agent therapeutically utilised in the management of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, celecoxib has some novel therapeutic and pharmacological activities. Celecoxib inhibits anti-apoptotic kinase activation and is the first specific COX-2 inhibitor to be marketed for familial adenomatous polyposis, an inheritable predisposition for colorectal cancer. Celecoxib is not without gastrointestinal (GI) side effects but demonstrates markedly reduced GI ulceration in clinical trials when compared to traditional non-specific non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The specific COX-2 inhibitors each have distinctive pharmacokinetic properties. Celecoxib can be given either once or twice daily. Racial differences in drug disposition, and pharmacokinetic changes in elderly patients, patients with chronic renal insufficiency and patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment, are evident with celecoxib. Despite the specific action of these drugs, there remains the potential for significant drug interactions. Celecoxib has demonstrated interactions with fluconazole, lithium and warfarin. Increased clinical vigilance should be maintained when co-prescribing medications with celecoxib until further clinical experience is gained. Celecoxib represents a major therapeutic advance in terms of GI safety. However, long-term safety in other organ systems, safety with concomitant drug administration, and pharmacoeconomic benefits still remain to be proven.