Acemetacin capsules for pain and inflammation

Last updated by Peer reviewed by Sid Dajani
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Clinical author's note Michael Stewart 17/3/2020: Emflex® capsules were discontinued in the UK in February 2018. At the time of review there are no branded or generic products containing acemetacin available in the UK. Acemetacin may still be available in other countries. This medicine leaflet is based on medical information available in the UK at the time of writing and is left here for reference purposes. Please also refer to the manufacturer's information supplied with your medicine.

Acemetacin is a medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is also known as 'an NSAID'.

Before you take acemetacin, tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other anti-inflammatory painkiller.

It is usual to take two or three capsules a day - your doctor will tell you which of these is right for you. Take each of the capsules at a mealtime, or with a snack.

Type of medicineA non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Used forRelief of pain and inflammation in adults
Also calledEmflex® (discontinued)
Available asCapsules

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like acemetacin are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or sometimes just 'anti-inflammatories'. Acemetacin is prescribed to ease pain and reduce inflammation in people with painful muscles or joints. Typical conditions it is prescribed for include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. It is also prescribed to ease pain after surgical operations.

Acemetacin works by blocking the effect of natural substances called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These enzymes help to make other chemicals in the body, called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are produced at sites of injury or damage, and cause pain and inflammation. By blocking the effect of COX enzymes, fewer prostaglandins are produced, which means pain and inflammation are eased.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking acemetacin, it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, naproxen, diclofenac, and indometacin), or to any other medicine.
  • If you have ever had a problem with bleeding from the stomach or intestines, such as from a peptic or duodenal ulcer.
  • If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
  • If you have a heart condition, or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breastfeeding.
  • If you have ever had blood clotting problems.
  • If you have an inflammatory bowel disorder such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • If you have a connective tissue disorder such as systemic lupus erythematosus. This is an inflammatory condition which is also called lupus or SLE.
  • If you have any of the following conditions: high blood pressure; epilepsy; Parkinsonism; a mental health problem.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or if you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about acemetacin, and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
  • Take acemetacin exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose for adults is one 60 mg capsule taken twice daily, preferably morning and evening. If it is necessary, your doctor may increase the dose to one capsule three times daily.
  • Take acemetacin with food; during a mealtime is ideal. This will help to protect your stomach from side-effects such as indigestion and stomach irritation.
  • Swallow the capsule whole with a drink of water. Do not chew or open the capsules.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case take the next dose when it is due and leave out the forgotten dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
  • Your doctor will try to prescribe you the lowest dose for the shortest time in order to reduce the risk of side-effects. If you need to take acemetacin over a period of time, your doctor may want to prescribe another medicine along with it to protect your stomach from irritation.
  • Try to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • If you have asthma, symptoms such as wheeze or breathlessness can be made worse by anti-inflammatories such as acemetacin. If this happens to you, you should stop taking the capsules and see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • There is known to be a small increased risk of heart and blood vessel problems in people taking some anti-inflammatory painkillers long-term. Your doctor will explain this to you and will prescribe the lowest suitable dose for the shortest time in order to reduce the risk. Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with an anti-inflammatory like acemetacin. This is because you should not take these capsules with any other anti-inflammatory painkiller, some of which are available in cold and flu remedies which can be bought 'over the counter'.
  • If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with acemetacin. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer's information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common acemetacin side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Indigestion, heartburn (reflux), stomach pain, windRemember to take your doses with a meal or with a glass of milk. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor
Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)Stick to simple meals - avoid fatty or spicy foods
Feeling dizzy or tiredDo not drive and do not use tools or machines while affected
HeadacheDrink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, speak with your doctor
Constipation or diarrhoeaDrink plenty of water
Feeling agitated, changes to some blood tests to do with the lliverIf you are concerned about these, speak with your doctor

Important: if you experience any of the following less common but possibly serious symptoms, stop taking acemetacin and contact your doctor for advice straightaway:

  • If you have any breathing difficulties such as wheeze or breathlessness.
  • If you have any signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling around your mouth or face, or a severe itchy skin rash.
  • If you pass blood or black stools, bring up blood, or have severe tummy (abdominal) pains.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the capsules, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading and references