Etodolac for pain and inflammation

Authored by Helen Allen, 30 Mar 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Prof Cathy Jackson, 30 Mar 2017

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

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

It is best to take your doses with food.

Type of medicineA non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Used forRelief of pain and inflammation in adults with arthritis
Also calledEccoxolac®; Etolyn®; Etopan®; Lodine®
Available asCapsules and modified-release tablets

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like etodolac are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or sometimes just 'anti-inflammatories'. Etodolac is prescribed to ease pain and reduce inflammation for people with rheumatic conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Etodolac works by blocking the effect of natural substances in your body, called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These enzymes help to make other chemicals in your 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 etodolac, 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 breast-feeding.
  • 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 high blood pressure.
  • 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 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 the tablets/capsules, and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking them.
  • There are two forms of etodolac available: modified-release tablets (which release etodolac slowly throughout the day) and capsules (which release etodolac more quickly). If you are prescribed tablets, you will be asked to take one 600 mg tablet daily. If you are prescribed capsules, you could be asked to take either one or two 300 mg capsules a day. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you. You should take etodolac exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • Try to take your doses at the same time(s) each day as this will help you to remember to take etodolac regularly.
  • Swallow the tablet or capsule whole; do not chew or break the tablets, and do not open the capsules. Most people find it helps to swallow the tablet/capsule with a drink of water.
  • It is best to take your doses with food, such as with a snack or at a mealtime. This is because the food in your stomach will help to protect from side-effects such as indigestion and stomach irritation.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless your next dose is due. If when you remember, your next dose is due then take the dose that is due and leave out the forgotten one. 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 etodolac over a long period of time, your doctor may want to prescribe another medicine along with it to protect your stomach from irritation.
  • Try to keep your 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 etodolac. If this happens to you, you should stop taking the tablets/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 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 etodolac. This is because you should not take etodolac 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 etodolac. 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 etodolac side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Indigestion, heartburn, stomach painRemember to take your doses with a meal or with a glass of milk. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor
Feeling sick or being sick (vomiting)Stick to simple meals - avoid fatty or spicy foods
Diarrhoea or constipationDrink plenty of water
Feeling dizzy or tiredDo not drive and do not use tools or machines while affected

Important: if you experience any of the following less common but possibly serious symptoms, stop taking etodolac 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 etodolac, 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

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