Should celecoxib be contraindicated in patients who are allergic to sulfonamides? Revisiting the meaning of 'sulfa' allergy

Drug Safety : an International Journal of Medical Toxicology and Drug Experience
Sandra R KnowlesNeil H Shear


Celecoxib, a selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor, is a diaryl-substituted pyrazole derivative containing a sulfonamide substituent. Because of this structural component, celecoxib is contraindicated for use in patients who have demonstrated allergic reactions to sulfonamides. However, there is a lack of data demonstrating cross-reactivity among sulfonamide medications. A sulfonamide is any compound with an SO2NH2 moiety. The major difference between sulfonamide antimicrobials and other sulfonamide-containing medications such as furosemide, thiazide diuretics and celecoxib, is that sulfonamide antimicrobials contain an aromatic amine group at the N4 position. This allows for division of the sulfonamides into 2 groups: aromatic amines (i.e., sulfonamide antimicrobials) and nonaromatic amines. In addition, sulfonamide antimicrobials contain a substituted ring at the N1-position; this group is not found with nonaromatic amine-containing sulfonamides. Adverse reactions to sulfonamide antimicrobials include type I, or immunoglobulin (Ig) E-mediated reactions, hypersensitivity syndrome reactions, and severe skin reactions such as toxic epidermal necrolysis. The aromatic amine portion of the sulfonamide antimicrobial is considered to...Continue Reading


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