Table of Contents

Dangers of Meloxicam: Risks, Side Effects, and Precautions


Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

Dangers of Meloxicam

Meloxicam, a popular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is widely used to manage pain and inflammation associated with conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Despite its effectiveness, meloxicam carries significant risks and potential side effects that users must be aware of. Missing a dose or taking too much meloxicam can lead to severe consequences. Individuals might experience skin pain, trouble breathing, or even severe allergic reactions. It’s crucial to talk with your doctor about any drug interactions, especially if you have a medical history of heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease. Those who have had coronary artery bypass graft surgery should be particularly cautious. Understanding these risks and knowing when to seek emergency medical help can make a significant difference in managing your health while using meloxicam.


What is Meloxicam, a Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug?

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve pain and inflammation in conditions such as arthritis. It works by reducing the production of prostaglandins, chemicals in the body that cause inflammation, pain, and fever. Meloxicam is commonly prescribed for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is usually taken orally in the form of tablets or capsules, and it’s important to follow the prescribed dosage and instructions to minimize potential side effects and interactions with other medications. Common side effects include gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, and headache, while more serious risks include cardiovascular problems and gastrointestinal bleeding.


Uses for Meloxicam, Including Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Meloxicam is primarily used to manage and alleviate symptoms associated with various forms of arthritis. Its main uses include:

  1. Osteoarthritis: Meloxicam helps reduce pain and inflammation in the joints, improving mobility and quality of life for individuals with this degenerative joint disease.
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: This medication is effective in managing the chronic pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder affecting the joints.
  3. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis): Meloxicam is prescribed to children over the age of 2 to help control symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, such as joint pain and swelling.
  4. Ankylosing Spondylitis: It is used to relieve pain and stiffness in the spine and other areas in people with this type of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine.


Meloxicam Imprints

Meloxicam tablets are often identified by imprints on the pills, which can vary depending on the manufacturer and dosage. Here are some common imprints for Meloxicam:

  1. Meloxicam 7.5 mg:
    • Imprint: “93 72” (Teva Pharmaceuticals)
    • Imprint: “ZC 25” (Zydus Pharmaceuticals)
    • Imprint: “M 89” (Mylan Pharmaceuticals)
    • Imprint: “B 889” (Barr Laboratories)
  2. Meloxicam 15 mg:
    • Imprint: “93 74” (Teva Pharmaceuticals)
    • Imprint: “ZC 26” (Zydus Pharmaceuticals)
    • Imprint: “M 14” (Mylan Pharmaceuticals)
    • Imprint: “B 891” (Barr Laboratories)
  3. Generic Meloxicam:
    • Imprint: “L U” and “Y21” or other combinations depending on the generic manufacturer.


Meloxicam Dosage 

What to Do If You Miss a Dose of Meloxicam

The dosage of Meloxicam varies based on the condition being treated and the patient’s response. Typical dosages include:

  1. Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis:
    • Adults:
      • Initial dose: 7.5 mg once daily
      • Maintenance dose: 7.5 mg to 15 mg once daily, depending on response
      • Maximum dose: 15 mg once daily
  2. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis:
    • Children (≥2 years):
      • Dose: 0.125 mg/kg once daily
      • Maximum dose: 7.5 mg once daily


Efficacy of Meloxicam

Meloxicam Drug Interactions

Meloxicam is considered effective in managing symptoms of various inflammatory conditions, particularly arthritis. Its efficacy can be summarized as follows:

  1. Osteoarthritis: Clinical studies show that meloxicam significantly reduces pain and improves joint function in patients with osteoarthritis. It is comparable in efficacy to other NSAIDs like diclofenac and naproxen.
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Meloxicam effectively decreases joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis patients, providing similar benefits to other NSAIDs but with a potentially better gastrointestinal safety profile.
  3. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Meloxicam has been shown to effectively reduce pain and inflammation in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, improving their overall quality of life.


Overall, meloxicam is a well-tolerated and effective option for managing chronic inflammatory conditions, offering symptomatic relief and improved function for many patients.


Onset and Duration of Meloxicam

Meloxicam typically begins to take effect within 30 minutes to 1 hour after oral administration. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects can last up to 24 hours, making it suitable for once-daily dosing. This extended duration of action helps maintain consistent symptom relief throughout the day for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The steady pain control and inflammation reduction provided by meloxicam contribute to improved mobility and quality of life for patients.


Effect of Meloxicam on the Brain and Body

Meloxicam, as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), primarily affects the body by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which is involved in the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals that promote inflammation, pain, and fever. By reducing the production of prostaglandins, meloxicam alleviates pain and reduces inflammation.

Effects on the Body:

  1. Pain Relief: Meloxicam helps to reduce pain associated with conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing the inflammation in the affected joints.
  2. Anti-inflammatory: It reduces swelling and inflammation in various parts of the body, making it useful for treating chronic inflammatory conditions.
  3. Fever Reduction: Although not its primary use, meloxicam can also reduce fever due to its effect on prostaglandin production.


Effects on the Brain:

  1. Pain Perception: By reducing inflammation, meloxicam indirectly affects how the brain perceives pain, leading to a decrease in the sensation of pain.
  2. Potential Side Effects: Some users may experience central nervous system side effects, such as dizziness, headaches, or drowsiness. These effects are typically mild but can affect some individuals more significantly.


Other Considerations:

  • Gastrointestinal System: Meloxicam can irritate the stomach lining, potentially causing ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding. This is due to its inhibition of COX-1, which helps protect the stomach lining.
  • Cardiovascular System: Prolonged use of meloxicam may increase the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke, particularly in higher doses.
  • Renal System: Meloxicam can affect kidney function, particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions or those taking other medications that impact the kidneys.


Types of Meloxicam

Meloxicam is available in several forms:

  1. Tablets: Commonly in 7.5 mg and 15 mg strengths.
  2. Oral Suspension: Typically 7.5 mg/5 mL for patients who have difficulty swallowing tablets.
  3. Disintegrating Tablets: Designed to dissolve on the tongue for easier administration.
  4. Injectable Form: Used in hospital settings for rapid relief of pain and inflammation.


These forms cater to different patient needs and preferences for managing pain and inflammation.


What is Meloxicam Addiction?

Meloxicam is not considered addictive. It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to manage pain and inflammation, particularly in conditions like arthritis. Unlike opioids or certain other medications, meloxicam does not produce euphoric effects or lead to physical dependence. Therefore, it does not carry the risk of addiction.

However, it is important to use meloxicam as prescribed by a healthcare provider to avoid potential side effects and complications, such as gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular risks, or kidney problems, especially with long-term use. If there are concerns about the use of meloxicam or any other medication, it is best to discuss them with a healthcare professional.


What are the Dangers of Meloxicam?

Meloxicam, like other NSAIDs, carries certain risks and potential side effects. Some of the key dangers associated with meloxicam include:

Gastrointestinal Issues:

  • Ulcers and Bleeding: Meloxicam can irritate the stomach lining, potentially leading to ulcers, bleeding, or perforation.
  • Stomach Pain and Heartburn: Common gastrointestinal side effects include stomach pain, indigestion, and heartburn.


Cardiovascular Risks:

  • Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke: Long-term use of meloxicam, especially in higher doses, can increase the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.
  • Hypertension: Meloxicam may cause or worsen high blood pressure.


Renal (Kidney) Issues:

  • Impaired Kidney Function: Meloxicam can affect kidney function, particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions or those taking other medications that impact the kidneys.
  • Fluid Retention and Edema: It may cause fluid retention, leading to swelling in the extremities.


Allergic Reactions:

  • Severe Skin Reactions: Rare but serious skin reactions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, can occur.
  • Anaphylaxis: Severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, may happen in some individuals. If you experience a red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling, or severe acne or skin rash, stop using the medicine and seek medical attention immediately.


Hematologic Effects:

  • Anemia: Long-term use can sometimes lead to anemia.
  • Blood Clotting Issues: It may affect platelet function and blood clotting.
  1. Liver Issues:
  • Liver Damage: Rarely, meloxicam can cause liver damage, leading to symptoms such as jaundice, fatigue, and dark urine.


Special Considerations:

  • Pregnancy: Meloxicam is not recommended during late pregnancy due to the risk of harm to the developing fetus.
  • Interactions: Meloxicam can interact with other medications, potentially increasing the risk of adverse effects.


To minimize these risks, it is important to use meloxicam exactly as prescribed by a healthcare provider and to have regular check-ups to monitor for potential side effects. If any severe side effects or unusual symptoms occur, medical attention should be sought immediately.


Signs and Symptoms of Meloxicam Misuse

While meloxicam is not typically associated with addiction or misuse, improper use can still lead to significant adverse effects. Signs and symptoms of meloxicam misuse include persistent stomach pain, indigestion, and gastrointestinal bleeding, which may present as black or bloody stools. Cardiovascular problems such as increased blood pressure, swelling in the extremities (edema), and shortness of breath or chest pain may also occur. Kidney issues can manifest as reduced urine output and swelling due to fluid retention. Liver problems might present as jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), unusual fatigue, and dark urine. Additionally, allergic reactions, including rash, itching, severe skin reactions, and anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat), can indicate misuse. If you experience a red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling, severe acne, or any severe skin rash, seek medical attention immediately. If any of these symptoms are observed, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly.


Can You Overdose from Meloxicam?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on meloxicam. Symptoms of overdose may include severe gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, drowsiness, lack of energy, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can lead to kidney failure, liver damage, or cardiovascular problems. If an overdose is suspected, it is crucial to seek emergency medical attention immediately.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take double doses to make up for a missed one.


Meloxicam and Alcohol

Combining meloxicam and alcohol can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, and liver damage. Both substances can irritate the stomach lining and impact liver function, so it’s generally advised to limit or avoid alcohol consumption while taking meloxicam. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.


Meloxicam Use and Pregnancy

Meloxicam is generally not recommended during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, due to the risk of harm to the developing fetus. It can affect fetal cardiovascular function and prolong labor. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider before using meloxicam to discuss safer alternatives.


How Long Does Meloxicam Stay in Your System?

The half-life of meloxicam is approximately 15-20 hours. This means it takes about 15-20 hours for the concentration of meloxicam in the blood to reduce by half. Given this half-life, meloxicam typically stays in your system for about 3-5 days after the last dose. However, this can vary depending on individual factors such as metabolism, age, kidney function, and overall health.


How Long Is Meloxicam Detectable in Your System?

Meloxicam can be detectable in your system for about 3-5 days after the last dose, based on its half-life of 15-20 hours. This time frame can vary depending on individual factors such as metabolism, age, kidney function, and overall health. However, standard drug tests typically do not screen for NSAIDs like meloxicam.


What are the Side Effects and Risks of Meloxicam?

Short-Term Side Effects of Meloxicam:

  1. Gastrointestinal Issues: Stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea.
  2. Dizziness or Headaches.
  3. Skin Reactions: Rash, itching.
  4. Allergic Reactions: Swelling, difficulty breathing (rare but serious).


Long-Term Risks of Meloxicam:

  1. Gastrointestinal Damage: Ulcers, bleeding, perforation.
  2. Cardiovascular Problems: Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, hypertension.
  3. Kidney Damage: Impaired kidney function, fluid retention.
  4. Liver Damage: Potential for liver function impairment.
  5. Hematologic Issues: Anemia, blood clotting problems.


Consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and monitoring when using meloxicam.


Can meloxicam affect fertility?

  • Meloxicam may affect ovulation and has the potential to temporarily reduce fertility in women. This effect is typically reversible upon discontinuation of the drug.


Does meloxicam interact with other medications?

  • Yes, meloxicam can interact with several other medications, including blood thinners, other NSAIDs, certain antidepressants, and corticosteroids, increasing the risk of adverse effects.


Can meloxicam be used in patients with asthma?

  • Patients with asthma, particularly those sensitive to aspirin or other NSAIDs, should use meloxicam cautiously as it can exacerbate asthma symptoms.


Is meloxicam safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

  • Meloxicam is generally not recommended during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, due to potential risks to the fetus. It should also be used with caution while breastfeeding.


Can meloxicam cause sun sensitivity?

  • While uncommon, some individuals may experience increased sensitivity to sunlight while taking meloxicam, leading to a higher risk of sunburn or skin reactions.


Are Meloxicam Side Effects Curable?

Most side effects of meloxicam are manageable and can be alleviated with proper medical intervention. For example:

  1. Gastrointestinal Issues: Symptoms like stomach pain, heartburn, and ulcers can be treated with medications such as antacids, proton pump inhibitors, or H2 blockers. Reducing the dose or discontinuing meloxicam may also be necessary.
  2. Cardiovascular Problems: Managing blood pressure through lifestyle changes and medications can help mitigate risks. Discontinuing meloxicam may be recommended if severe issues arise.
  3. Kidney Problems: Adjusting the dose or discontinuing the medication can improve kidney function, and supportive treatments can help manage symptoms.
  4. Liver Issues: Stopping meloxicam and using supportive treatments can often lead to recovery, depending on the severity of the liver damage.
  5. Allergic Reactions: Mild reactions can be treated with antihistamines, while severe reactions require immediate medical attention and discontinuation of the drug.


Prevalence of Meloxicam Overuse

The prevalence of meloxicam overuse is not widely documented, but misuse can still happen, leading to serious health risks. These risks include gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage, cardiovascular problems, and liver damage. Symptoms of overdose include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and severe stomach pain. In extreme cases, overdose can result in acute renal failure and cardiovascular collapse. Immediate medical attention is essential in cases of suspected overdose.


How Is Meloxicam Overuse Diagnosed?

Meloxicam overuse is diagnosed by healthcare providers through a combination of methods:

  1. Patient History: A thorough review of the patient’s medication usage, including frequency and dosage, to identify any patterns of overuse.
  2. Clinical Symptoms: Observing for signs and symptoms associated with overuse, such as gastrointestinal issues (e.g., stomach pain, bleeding), kidney problems (e.g., reduced urine output, swelling), and cardiovascular issues (e.g., increased blood pressure, chest pain).
  3. Laboratory Tests: Conducting blood and urine tests to detect potential organ damage, such as elevated liver enzymes, reduced kidney function, or evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding.
  4. Physical Examination: Checking for physical signs of complications, such as edema, jaundice, or unusual fatigue, which may indicate underlying organ damage.


What is Meloxicam Overuse Treatment?

Treatment for meloxicam overuse involves:

  1. Immediate Medical Attention: Seek emergency help.
  2. Gastric Lavage: To remove the drug from the stomach.
  3. Activated Charcoal: To absorb the drug in the gastrointestinal tract.
  4. Supportive Care: Manage symptoms like nausea and abdominal pain.
  5. Monitor and Treat Complications: Check for gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney, and cardiovascular issues.
  6. Discontinue Meloxicam: Stop using the drug.
  7. Adjust Medication: Consult a healthcare provider for alternative pain management.


Early intervention and medical supervision are crucial to prevent severe complications.


Is Meloxicam Addiction Treatment Right for You?

Meloxicam is not considered addictive, so addiction treatment is typically unnecessary. However, if you find yourself overusing meloxicam or experiencing complications from its misuse, seeking medical advice is essential. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms, adjusting medications, and exploring alternative pain management strategies. Consulting with a healthcare provider can help determine the best approach for your specific situation.


Duration of Treatment for Meloxicam Overuse

The duration of treatment for meloxicam overuse varies depending on the severity of the symptoms and complications.

  1. Immediate Phase: Acute symptoms may require hospitalization and intensive treatment, which can last from a few hours to several days.
  2. Short-Term Management: Addressing gastrointestinal issues, kidney function, and cardiovascular health may take several weeks. This period involves regular monitoring and supportive care.
  3. Long-Term Follow-Up: Ongoing management to prevent recurrence and monitor organ function can last several months to a year, depending on individual recovery and underlying conditions.


Does Insurance Cover Treatment?

Whether insurance covers treatment for meloxicam overuse depends on your specific insurance plan and coverage. Generally, most health insurance plans cover emergency care, hospitalizations, and treatments for complications arising from medication overuse. This includes diagnostic tests, medical consultations, and necessary treatments. It’s important to check with your insurance provider for details about your coverage, copayments, and any required pre-authorization for treatments.


Common Insurance Plans for Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

Common insurance plans that typically cover addiction and mental health treatment include:

  1. Medicare and Medicaid: These government programs provide coverage for addiction and mental health services.
  2. Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Many employer health plans offer coverage for behavioral health services.
  3. Private Insurance Plans: Plans from insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare often include mental health and addiction treatment coverage.
  4. Affordable Care Act (ACA) Plans: ACA marketplace plans are required to cover mental health and substance use disorder services as essential health benefits.



In conclusion, while meloxicam can be an effective pain reliever for many, it’s vital to be aware of its potential dangers and to use it responsibly. If you experience warning signs like stomach ulcers, unusual tiredness, unexplained weight gain, or severe skin reactions such as blisters or a rash, you should call your doctor immediately. Understanding the symptoms of overdose, such as tarry stools, coffee grounds vomit, or slurred speech, and knowing when to seek emergency medical help, can prevent serious health complications. Always follow your doctor’s prescribed dosage and discuss any concerns or interactions with other drugs with your doctor or pharmacist. By staying informed and vigilant, you can mitigate the risks associated with meloxicam and ensure safer pain management.


Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At New Hope Healthcare, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:


If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to New Hope Healthcare today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-799-0806.

Frequently Asked Questions

Common side effects include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, dizziness, and headaches. These effects are usually mild but should be monitored.
Yes, meloxicam can cause serious health issues such as gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage, liver damage, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly with long-term use or high doses.
Long-term use of meloxicam can increase the risk of severe side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and cardiovascular events. It should be used under close medical supervision, especially for chronic conditions.
Yes, meloxicam can cause allergic reactions, including serious conditions like anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms can include rash, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
If you experience severe side effects such as severe stomach pain, black or bloody stools, chest pain, shortness of breath, or signs of an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

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