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Updated on October 2, 2023
6 min read

Meloxicam and Alcohol

What Is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam is a type of painkiller that falls under the category of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It's also known under the brand Mobic.

Meloxicam is available as a tablet or liquid that you should take orally. Clinicians will often prescribe the drug based on weight. As weight gain or loss can affect the drug's efficacy, doses can change accordingly.

What are NSAIDs?

NSAIDs decrease the production of body chemicals to prevent inflammation and pain. They produce similar effects as corticosteroids (steroids) but with fewer side effects.

Other examples of NSAIDs include:

  • Ibuprofen, such as Motrin and Advil
  • Naproxen sodium, such as Aleve
  • Aspirin, such as Disprin
  • Diclofenac,such as Voltaren
meloxicam pill
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How Does Meloxicam Work?

The anti-inflammatory function of meloxicam works by blocking the effects of the natural chemicals cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These enzymes help make other chemicals, prostaglandins, in your body. Prostaglandins develop in areas of injury or damage, causing pain and inflammation.

By inhibiting COX enzymes, meloxicam reduces the production of prostaglandins. This results in a decrease in pain and inflammation in the affected joints.

It's essential to consult your healthcare provider before taking a different brand, strength, or form of this medication. The same applies to those who gain or lose weight. Doctors may need to change doses to avoid unintentional medication errors.

How to Take Meloxicam

Before taking meloxicam, read the manufacturer's information leaflet inside the pack. This will give you more information about the tablets and provide a full list of side effects that you may experience.

Take meloxicam as directed by your doctor; the usual dose is one tablet daily. Meloxicam is non-addictive and safe to take daily as prescribed.

It typically doesn't matter when you take it as long as you take it at the same time each day. Meloxicam's half-life is approximately 15 to 20 hours. It can be detected on urine tests up to five days after use.

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Meloxicam Statistics

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22.6

Million

Estimated number of prescriptions for meloxicam in the United States.

$17.06

Average

Total drug cost of meloxicam.

$3.94

Average

Out-of-pocket cost of meloxicam.

Who Should Take Meloxicam? 

Meloxicam is a popular arthritis medication that helps alleviate pain and inflammation. This prescription drug helps treat people with arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Additionally, healthcare professionals may prescribe meloxicam for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. This is a type of arthritis that affects children under 16. Meloxicam can also treat ankylosing spondylitis, which is a form of arthritis that impacts the spine.

Children must be at least two years old before they can begin taking meloxicam. A daily dose of 7.5 to 15mg is safe and effective for treating osteoarthritis.

What are the Side Effects of Meloxicam?

Meloxicam has common and uncommon side effects. These side effects can be unpleasant and uncomfortable.

The most common side effects include:

  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea 
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn

Less Common Side Effects of Meloxicam

Some of the less common side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bloating or sensation of feeling full
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Rapid breathing
  • Thirst
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

The risk of experiencing these side effects increases when you misuse meloxicam or mix it with alcohol and other substances. You can also experience severe side effects that require medical attention.

Severe Side Effects of Meloxicam

Taking NSAIDs like meloxicam can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Events like these can happen without warning, even if you don't have any risk factors. 

Substance abuse, such as alcohol abuse, can increase the risk of serious side effects when taking meloxicam. Immediately contact a healthcare professional if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden, unexplained weight gain
  • Edema (fluid retention)
  • Changes in appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin reactions, such as rashes, pale skin, hives, blisters, peeling, etc.
  • Stomach bleeding that causes bloody or tarry stool and
  • Upper abdominal pain due to stomach ulcers
  • Coughing or vomiting blood that resembles coffee grounds
  • Liver damage that causes flu-like symptoms, dark urine, or jaundice
  • Kidney problems that may result in swollen feet or ankles, fatigue, and lack of urination

Lastly, people taking meloxicam for longer periods may have to undergo frequent medical tests to monitor for possible unwanted side effects. This is because the risk of a heart attack, blood clots, and stroke is higher for people using meloxicam.

Who is at Risk When Taking Meloxicam?

Talk to your doctor about any underlying health conditions or medications you take. These can affect the medication and worsen any existing symptoms or side effects.

The following list describes health conditions that may exclude you from taking meloxicam:

  • Severe kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Prior allergic reactions to aspirin or other NSAIDs
  • Phenylketonuria (a rare disease that leads to the accumulation of phenylalanine in the body)

Considerations for Specific Populations and Situations

People undergoing fertility treatment or women trying to become pregnant shouldn't take meloxicam. The drug may affect ovulation or lower sperm count in men. 

Moreover, physicians shouldn't administer meloxicam before or after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. This is because meloxicam can interact with drugs that lower blood pressure.

What are Meloxicam's Drug Interactions?

To prevent life-threatening drug interactions, healthcare professionals may not prescribe meloxicam to people taking: 

  • Other NSAID medication
  • Blood thinners like Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Blood pressure medications like Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Diuretics
  • Antidepressants like SSRIs and SNRIs
  • Lithium
  • Immunosuppressant medication like Cyclosporine

Seek medical advice for different prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs before taking meloxicam. This can help you avoid unwanted side effects and dangerous interactions. 

What are the Dangers of Mixing Meloxicam and Alcohol?

Mixing meloxicam and alcohol can cause life-threatening effects. The side effects of mixing alcohol and meloxicam include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding
  • Liver damage
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Heart failure (heart attack or stroke)

Heavy alcohol consumption can damage organs and stress the stomach and liver. When combined with meloxicam, the risk of developing gastrointestinal problems such as GI bleeding increases.

Because of this, you should avoid drinking alcohol while taking meloxicam. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately.

Special Considerations for Older Adults and Alcohol Use

Older people are also at risk of serious alcohol-medication interaction because they can't metabolize alcohol quickly. This means alcohol stays in their body longer compared to younger people. If you're struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction, speak to a healthcare professional before taking meloxicam.

What are Meloxicam Overdose Symptoms?

It's possible to overdose on meloxicam. This happens when you mix meloxicam and alcohol or mistake it for other medications.

Symptoms of a meloxicam overdose include:

  • Chest or throat pain
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Seizures 
  • Coma
  • Lack of energy 
  • Blue lips, skin, or fingernails 
  • Sudden weight gain

Summary

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and inflammation. It works by blocking the enzymes in your body that are responsible for pain and inflammation.

Meloxicam has a wide range of detrimental effects when you misuse it. Mixing it with other substances can increase the risk of experiencing these side effects and worsen existing ones.

You should also consider avoiding meloxicam if you regularly drink alcohol. Mixing meloxicam and alcohol can result in serious health problems such as gastrointestinal bleeding, gastritis, and heart failure.

Updated on October 2, 2023
8 sources cited
Updated on October 2, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Pharmacogenomics of NSAID-Induced Upper Gastrointestinal Toxicity.” Frontiers, 2021.

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2017.

  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Harmful Interactions.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2014.

  4. Meloxicam (Oral Route).Mayo Clinic, 2023.

  5. Meloxicam (oral/injection).” University of Michigan Health, 2023.

  6. U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Meloxicam.MedlinePlus, 2021.

  7. Zhijun et al. "Therapeutic effects of combined meloxicam and glucosamine sulfate treatment on patients with osteoarthritis, and its effect on serum CTX-Ⅰ, CTX-Ⅱ, COMP and MMP-3." Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 2019.

  8. Meloxicam.” ClinCalc.com, 2022.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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