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What Is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam (known by brand name Mobic®) is a type of painkiller that falls under the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).
Like corticosteroids (or steroids), but without as many side effects, NSAIDS decrease the production of certain body chemicals to prevent further inflammation and pain. Other examples of NSAIDS include ibuprofen (known by brand names Motrin® and Advil®) and naproxen sodium (known by brand name Aleve®).
Meloxicam is available as a tablet or liquid that are both taken orally. Clinicians will prescribe the drug based on weight. As weight gain or loss can affect the efficacy of the drug, doses can change accordingly.
Like any other NSAID, meloxicam has side effects and risks.
Who Is Prescribed Meloxicam?
This particular prescription drug helps treat pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease) and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder that attacks the body’s own tissues).
At daily doses of 7.5 to 15mg, meloxicam has been determined to be safe and effective in treating osteoarthritis.
Additionally, healthcare professionals may prescribe meloxicam for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (a type of arthritis in children under 16) and ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis that impacts the spine). Children must be at least 2 years old before they can begin taking the NSAID.
To prevent life-threatening drug interactions, healthcare professionals may choose to not prescribe meloxicam to individuals taking:
- Blood thinners, ketorolac (short-term medication for pain relief, primarily after surgery).
- Cyclosporine (an immunosuppressant to prevent transplant rejection), or other medications.
It is recommended to seek medical advice for different prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs to avoid unwanted side effects when combined with meloxicam.
The following list describes health conditions that may exclude individuals from being prescribed meloxicam:
- Severe kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Prior allergic reactions to aspirin or other NSAIDs
- Phenylketonuria — this is a rare inherited disease that leads to the accumulation of an amino acid called phenylalanine in the body. The condition may worsen if an individual takes meloxicam disintegrating tablets (Qmiiz ODT).
- Heart surgery — meloxicam should not be administered before or after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
Side Effects & Warnings of Meloxicam
Side effects of meloxicam may range from mild to serious.
Some of the less common side effects include:
- Bloating or sensation of feeling full
- Rapid breathing
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
The most common side effects include:
- Sore throat
Should the following serious side effects occur, it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately:
- Chest pain
- Sudden, unexplained weight gain
- Edema (fluid retention)
- Skin reactions — these may include skin rash, pale skin, hives, blisters or peeling, or loosening of the skin.
- Stomach bleeding — individuals may have bloody or tarry (dark) stools, or cough up blood or vomit resembling coffee grounds as a result of stomach ulcers. Pain may be in the right upper part of the stomach.
- Liver issues — these may include nausea, flu-like symptoms, dark urine, jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes), or a decrease in appetite.
- Kidney problems — these may include swelling in feet or ankles, little to no urination, dyspnea (shortness of breath), or lack of energy.
It is important to remember that taking NSAIDS like meloxicam can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Events like these can happen without warning even if individuals do not have any risk factors.
Individuals who are undergoing fertility treatment or women trying to become pregnant should not take meloxicam. The drug may affect ovulation (when the ovary releases an egg) or lower sperm count in men.
Lastly, individuals who take meloxicam for longer-than-average periods may have to undergo frequent medical tests to monitor possible unwanted effects. For these people, the risk of a heart attack or stroke is even higher.
Dangers of Mixing Meloxicam and Alcohol
Taking meloxicam with alcohol can produce life-threatening health effects like upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.
Heavy drinking can put stress on the GI and liver and result in organ damage. When combined with meloxicam or any other NSAID, the risk of developing a stomach ulcer or gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) that leads to upper GI bleeding increases.
Older people have an increased risk of serious alcohol-medication interaction. As an adult ages, the body has more difficulty in metabolizing alcohol quickly. This means that alcohol stays in the body for a longer time and can continue interacting with the drug.
Also, because of drug interaction, alcohol may cause unwanted side effects or intensify effects of meloxicam like breathing or heart problems.
Overdose Risk & Symptoms
Individuals may be at risk of overdose when combining meloxicam with alcohol or making a mistake with the medication.
It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before taking a different brand, strength, or form of this medication. The same applies to those who gain or lose weight. Doctors may find it necessary to change doses to accommodate the patient and avoid unintentional medication errors.
Symptoms of overdose include:
- Chest or throat pain
- Severe stomach pain
- Lack of energy
- Blue lips, skin, or fingernails
- Sudden weight gain