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Meloxicam Uses & Side Effects

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Meloxicam (brand name Mobic) belongs to a group of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Please continue reading to learn more about this medication, including its uses and side effects.

Is meloxicam a strong pain reliever?

Yes, meloxicam is a fairly potent painkiller. It is a prescription drug that belongs to a group of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 

What is meloxicam used for?

Meloxicam is used to treat pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children. 

How does it work?

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Meloxicam (or NSAIDs in general) works by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX); the body uses COX to make prostaglandins, which are naturally occurring substances in the body that cause pain, fever, and inflammation. By reducing the production of prostaglandins, meloxicam alleviates pain, fever, and inflammation. 

What are meloxicam doses?

The typical meloxicam dose in adults is 7.5 mg once a day for oral tablets and oral disintegrating tablets. Your doctor may increase the meloxicam dose if needed. However, the maximum dosage is usually 15 mg once a day. The dose of meloxicam used to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children is determined by the doctor; though, the dosage of 7.5 mg orally once daily is commonly used for children who are over 2 years old and weigh more than 60 kg.

What are the common side effects of meloxicam?

Meloxicam has a boxed warning for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks. Meaning that meloxicam, or NSAIDs in general, can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, especially with long-term use or high doses. You should call 911 immediately if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, slurred speech, or unexplained changes in balance and vision. Gastrointestinal risks include intestinal and stomach bleeding. Call your doctor and seek emergency medical attention immediately if you have bloody, black, tarry stools, bloody cough, or vomits that look like coffee grounds.

Common side effects of meloxicam include upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, dizziness, or cold and flu symptoms. You should inform your doctors if these side effects worsen or do not go away. 

Below are some of the more serious side effects of meloxicam. You should report the following adverse reactions to your healthcare professional without delay and seek emergency medical help if you experience:

  • A severe allergic reaction with rash, hives, itching, or swelling of the face, tongue, or lips; serious skin reactions with blistering or peeling of the skin.
  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, chest pain, or swelling and warmth in a leg as these can be signs of a blood clot.
  • Flu-like symptoms.
  • Problems with urination, swelling or rapid weight gain. 
  • Liver injury with dark urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, stomach pain, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness or weakness, light-colored stools.

What should you not take with meloxicam?

Taking certain medications with meloxicam can increase the risk of adverse reactions.

Meloxicam can cause stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding, which can be dangerous. There is an increased risk of this occurring in people who take other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen), blood thinners, and  corticosteroid drugs (prednisone). 

Taking meloxicam with medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions can lead to kidney damage and kidney disease. Examples of these medications are diuretics (water pill) and ACE inhibitors (lisinopril, captopril). 

To avoid dangerous drug interactions and severe adverse effects, give your doctor a complete list of your medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, and herbal products.

What are the dangers of taking meloxicam?

Heart Attack and Stroke 

Meloxicam can increase the risk of having a blood clot, heart attack, or stroke. The risk is higher in people with pre-existing heart disease as well as people on high meloxicam doses or those taking the medicine for a long time. You should take the lowest effective dose of meloxicam for the shortest duration as directed by your doctor to reduce your risk. Before starting meloxicam, tell your doctor if you have any history of heart problems. Do not take this medicine if you are going to have a coronary artery bypass graft CABG (heart bypass surgery). Seek immediate medical help if you experience chest pain spreading to the jaw or shoulder, trouble breathing, weakness on one side of your body, or trouble walking or speaking.

Stomach Bleeding

Meloxicam can cause dangerous stomach bleeding. The risk is higher in older adults and people taking certain other medications such as other NSAIDs, oral corticosteroids, blood thinners, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants). Taking meloxicam for a long time, smoking, and drinking alcohol are also risk factors. Call your doctor if you experience persistent abdominal pain or notice blood in your vomit, stool, or urine. 

Severe Allergic Reaction

Though not extremely common, severe allergic reactions after taking meloxicam, including life-threatening allergic reactions like anaphylaxis or Stevens-Johnson syndrome, can occur. Call 911 if this occurs. Also, inform your doctor immediately if you notice a severe skin reaction with skin pain, skin rash, hives, painful blisters, swelling of the face, tongue, or lips, or trouble breathing while taking meloxicam. Before starting meloxicam, tell your doctor if you have aspirin sensitivity or allergies to other NSAIDs. 

Kidney Injury

Meloxicam can cause kidney damage. The risk of this occurring is higher in older adults, chronic use of meloxicam, concurrent use of certain heart or blood pressure medications, and kidney problems or liver disease. Call your doctor for medical advice if you notice any changes in urination after starting meloxicam. 

Liver Damage

In very rare instances, meloxicam tablets can cause liver damage. Warning symptoms include nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper stomach pain, pale stools, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Harmful to Unborn Babies

Meloxicam can increase the risk of heart and kidney problems in an unborn baby if used during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant women who suffer from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis should speak to their doctor about pain medications that are safe for use during pregnancy. Also, since meloxicam can pass into breast milk, always discuss with your doctor before breastfeeding while taking meloxicam.


  1. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601242.html
  2. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2012/020938s022lbl.pdf
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1884970/