Updated 11 February 2013


Indometacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.


Indometacin is the active ingredient of Adco-Indometacin, Adco-Indogel, Arthrexin, Betacin. Elmethacin, Flamecid, Indocid, Methocaps, NISAID-25, and Sandoz Indometacin.

General information

Indometacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. It is prescribed to relieve inflammation, swelling and stiffness, and is an effective pain killer. It is of particular use in arthritic and rheumatic conditions, acute gout, and for broad-spectrum pain relief. Indometacin can also be used to reduce fever.

It does not cure the underlying condition responsible for pain, fever or inflammation, but keeps the symptoms under control.

Indometacin may irritate or even damage your stomach. To reduce this, it is advised to take it with food.

This risk increases the longer you take this medication, or if you are also taking corticosteroid medications such as prednisone, anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) such as warfarin, or if you smoke or consume alcohol while being treated with indometacin.

It has been reported that people who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as indometacin) may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than those not taking it. This risk may be higher if you take these medications over a prolonged period of time. Tell your doctor if you have or have had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke.

How does Indometacin work?

Indometacin blocks the production of chemicals in the body that are responsible for pain, fever, swelling and inflammation.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Capsules, oral solution, topical gel and suppositories.

What does it do? Indometacin reduces pain, fever and inflammation

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependency risk: Low

Available as a generic ? Yes

Available on prescription only? No

User information

Onset of effect: Within 30 minutes.

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours.

Dietary advice: Indometacin should be taken with a meal to minimise gastrointestinal irritation.

Stopping this medicine: Unless your doctor has prescribed indometacin for long-term use, it can be safely stopped when no longer needed.

Prolonged use: The likelihood of adverse effects increases with prolonged use. Your doctor may perform periodic liver and kidney function tests. Long-term use may also affect your vision, and occasional eye tests may be needed.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have asthma,
  • You have a stomach ulcer,
  • You have a kidney or liver disease,
  • You have a bleeding disorder,
  • You have heart disease,
  • You have a psychiatric disorder,
  • You have Parkinson's disease,
  • You have epilepsy,
  • You are taking blood-thinning medication,
  • You are allergic to aspirin or any other medication, or
  • You are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: This medication is safe to use.

Infants and children: Indometacin should only be used if prescribed by a paediatrician.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly, as side effects may be more likely. The dose may need to be adjusted.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how it affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may worsen stomach irritation

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases

Gastrointestinal disorders





Dizziness/ confusion









Swelling (feet/ ankles)



Rash/ itch



Visual disturbances



Difficulty breathing



Blood in vomit


Dark tarry stools



Drug interactions:

Blood pressure medication

Reduced pressure-lowering effect


Potential gastrointestinal symptoms


Risk of bleeding

Asthma medication

Reduced effect of asthma medication; risk of asthma attack

Cardiac glycosides, digoxin

Risk that heart failure may be more severe


Potential gastrointestinal symptoms


Potential indometacin toxicity


Severe sedation

Aminoglycoside antibiotics

Possible antibiotic toxicity


Risk of desmopressin toxicity


Potential methotrexate toxicity


Potential risk of kidney damage

Blood glucose lowering drugs

Risk of prolonged low blood sugar


Potential baclofen toxicity

Other NSAIDs

Potential risk of gastrointestinal bleeding


Risk of indometacin toxicity

Quionolone antibiotics

Risk of seizures


Increased risk of kidney damage


Increased risk of zidovudine toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have asthma, a stomach ulcer, bleeding disorder, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, a psychiatric disorder, if you are taking blood thinning medication, or if you are allergic to aspirin or any other medication.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 75-150mg/day in divided doses. Maximum daily dose is 200mg.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


Get a quote


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Too Tired? »

20 signs of burnout Staying active reduces stress 10 ways to have a healthier work day

Why you're exhausted

Lost your mojo? Here are 5 surprising energy drainers, plus the easy fixes that will help put the pep back in your step!