Renal failure associated with the use of celecoxib and rofecoxib

Drug Saf. 2002;25(7):537-44. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200225070-00007.


Objective: Celecoxib and rofecoxib are two relatively new nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that selectively inhibit the cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) isoenzyme at therapeutic concentrations. The nephrotoxic potential of selective COX-2 inhibitors has not been clearly established. This study was conducted in order to understand the association between acute renal failure and the two COX-2 inhibitors celecoxib and rofecoxib.

Methods: A search was performed in the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) to identify cases of renal failure submitted to the FDA. A MEDLINE search of the English language literature was also performed to identify published cases of renal failure associated with celecoxib and rofecoxib.

Results: One hundred twenty-two and 142 domestic US cases of celecoxib and rofecoxib-associated renal failure, respectively, were identified in the AERS database. The literature search identified 19 cases of acute renal impairment in association with celecoxib and rofecoxib. In addition, drug regulatory authorities in the UK, Canada, and Australia have received about 50 reports of renal failure with celecoxib and rofecoxib. Descriptive statistics of the AERS cases have been summarised in this report.

Conclusions: Data from AERS and published case reports suggest that use of both these drugs is associated with renal effects similar to that of conventional nonselective NSAIDs. Physicians should be aware that serious or life-threatening renal failure has been reported in patients with normal or impaired renal function after short-term therapy with celecoxib and rofecoxib. Patients at greatest risk for renal injury are those with pre-existing renal impairment, heart failure, liver dysfunction, those taking diuretics and/or ACE inhibitors, and the elderly. Kidney function should be monitored closely for any signs of potential renal injuries soon after initiating treatment with these agents, especially in high-risk populations. In addition, healthcare practitioners should adequately warn patients of the signs and symptoms of serious renal toxicity, and of the need for them to see their physician promptly if they occur. Celecoxib and rofecoxib are not recommended for use in patients with advanced renal disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Celecoxib
  • Humans
  • Lactones / adverse effects*
  • Pyrazoles
  • Renal Insufficiency / chemically induced*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sulfonamides / adverse effects*
  • Sulfones
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Lactones
  • Pyrazoles
  • Sulfonamides
  • Sulfones
  • rofecoxib
  • Celecoxib