Meloxicam for pain and inflammation

Last updated by Peer reviewed by Sid Dajani
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Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other anti-inflammatory medicine.

Take one tablet a day, after a meal or with a snack.

Type of medicineNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Used forPain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and osteoarthritis
Available asTablets and melt-in-the-mouth (orodispersible) tablets

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like meloxicam are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or sometimes just 'anti-inflammatories'. Meloxicam eases pain and swelling (inflammation) in long-term conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, but it may also be used for a shorter period of time in osteoarthritis.

Meloxicam works by blocking the effect of natural chemicals 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 such as meloxicam are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking meloxicam, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
  • If you have ever had a stomach or duodenal ulcer, or if you have an inflammatory bowel disorder such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have a heart condition or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have high blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
  • If you are a smoker.
  • If you have ever had blood clotting problems.
  • If you have systemic lupus erythematosus. This is an inflammatory condition which is also called lupus or SLE.
  • 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 as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and indometacin), or to any other medicine.
  • Before you start taking meloxicam, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the tablets and provide a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
  • Take meloxicam exactly as your doctor has told you to. The usual dose is one tablet a day. You will be prescribed either 7.5 mg tablets or 15 mg tablets.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water.
  • Take each dose with a snack or just after eating a meal and drink plenty of water whilst on meloxicam.
  • If your doctor has prescribed melt-in-the-mouth (orodispersible) tablets:
    • Moisten your mouth first, taking a sip of water if needed.
    • Remove the tablet from the packaging, taking care not to moisten it.
    • Place the tablet on your tongue and allow it to dissolve slowly. This should take about five minutes.
    • After five minutes drink a large glass of water and swallow the dissolved tablet.
    • Do not chew the tablet or swallow it before it has dissolved.
  • Try to take your doses at the same time each day, as this will help you to remember to take them.
  • If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember along with something to eat. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Your doctor will try to prescribe you the lowest dose for the shortest time to reduce the risk of side-effects. Your doctor may also want to prescribe another medicine for you to take along with meloxicam 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 like meloxicam. If this happens to you, you should stop taking the tablets and see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with an anti-inflammatory like meloxicam.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Along with their useful effects, meloxicam alongisde most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common meloxicam side-effects
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)Stick to simple foods. Drink plenty of liquid to replace any lost fluids
Loose, watery stools (diarrhoea)Stick to simple foods. Drink plenty of liquid to replace any lost fluids
ConstipationTry to eat more foods that are high in fibre, such as fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water
Indigestion, stomach discomfort, windRemember to take the tablets after a meal if you are not already doing so. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor
Other less common side-effects: headache, feeling dizzy or sleepy, nervousness, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, a spinning sensation (vertigo), and ringing noises (tinnitus)If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

Important: if you experience any of the following uncommon but possibly serious symptoms, stop taking meloxicam 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 an itchy skin rash.
  • If you pass blood or black stools, vomit blood, or have tummy (abdominal) pains.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

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

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 at once. 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.

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