Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Meloxicam

Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. It is prescribed to relieve inflammation, swelling and stiffness, and is an effective pain killer.

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Meloxicam is the active ingredient of Mobic, Coxflam, Adco-Meloxicam, Arthrocox, Flexocam, Loxiflam, M-cam, Melflam, Sandoz-Meloxicam and Zydus Meloxicam.

General Information

Meloxicam 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 conditions, muscle injury and for broad spectrum pain relief.

This medication does not cure the underlying condition responsible for the inflammatory reaction, but simply keeps the symptoms under control

Meloxicam appear to have fewer gastrointestinal side effects (i.e. stomach irritation, ulceration and bleeding) compared to many other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This may be a result of its partial selective anti-inflammatory action on the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) responsible for prostaglandin (chemicals that play a role in pain and inflammation) synthesis, with less of an effect on the enzyme COX-1, which is involved in the production of prostaglandins that protect the lining of the stomach against ulcers.

It may however still cause gastrointestinal irritation and should be used with caution if you have a stomach ulcer or related disease.

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 meloxicam. To reduce the risk, it is advised that you take this medication with food.

It has been reported that people who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as meloxicam) may have a higher risk of 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 had heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke.

How does meloxicam work?

Meloxicam blocks the production of chemicals in the body responsible for pain, swelling and inflammation.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Meloxicam is available as tablets, suppositories and injection.

What does it do? Meloxicam reduces pain and inflammation.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is meloxicam available as a generic? Yes (tablets)

Is meloxicam available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 1 hour

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours

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

Stopping this medicine: Unless your doctor has prescribed meloxicam 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 period liver and kidney function tests, while also examining you for possible gastrointestinal damage.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You are allergic to any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or
  • aspirin
  • You have asthma
  • You have a stomach ulcer or gastric reflux
  • You have liver or kidney disease
  • You have heart disease, or have had a stroke or heart attack
  • You have a bleeding disorder
  • 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: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children.

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 this medication affects you.

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

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Abdominal pain

x

x

Diarrhoea

x

x

Nausea

x

x

Headache

x

x

Dizziness

x

x

Drowsiness

x

x

Depression

x

x

Swelling (feet/ ankles)

x

x

Rash/ itch

x

x

Difficulty breathing

x

x

Blood in vomit

x

Dark tarry stools

x

x

Heart palpitations

x

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

Blood pressure medication

Reduced pressure lowering effect

Alcohol

Potential gastrointestinal symptoms

Warfarin

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

Corticosteroids

Potential gastrointestinal symptoms

Ciclosporin

Potential meloxicam toxicity

Cholestyramine

Reduced effect of meloxicam

Methotrexate

Potential methotrexate toxicity

Diuretics

Potential risk of kidney damage

Blood glucose lowering drugs

Risk of prolonged low blood sugar

Baclofen

Potential baclofen toxicity

Other NSAID's

Potential risk of gastrointestinal bleeding

Probenecid

Risk of meloxicam toxicity

Quionolone antibiotics

Risk of seizures

Tacrolimus

Increased risk of kidney damage

Zidovudine

Increased risk of zidovudine toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have asthma, a stomach ulcer, bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood thinning medication; also 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: 7.5-15 mg once daily

 

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