Nabumetone for pain and inflammation (Relifex)

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

Take the tablets with food.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other anti-inflammatory painkiller.
Type of medicineA non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Used forRelief of pain and inflammation in adults with arthritis
Also calledRelifex®
Available asTablets

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like nabumetone are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or sometimes just 'anti-inflammatories'. Nabumetone is prescribed for people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It eases pain and reduces inflammation.

Nabumetone 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 nabumetone it is important that your doctor knows:

  • 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 have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
  • 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 have a heart condition or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have any blood clotting problems.
  • 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 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.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and indometacin), or to any other medicine.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about nabumetone, and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
  • The usual dose is 0.5-1 g daily, taken as one or two 500 mg tablets. You will be asked to take the tablets at the end of the day. If your doctor prescribes a higher dose than this for you, you will be asked to take a dose in the morning as well. This will be in addition to the dose you take in the evening. Take nabumetone exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • You should take nabumetone after a meal, or with a snack. Taking the tablets with some food will help to protect your stomach from side-effects such as indigestion and stomach irritation.
  • If you forget to take a dose, don't worry, just take the next dose when it is due. 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 nabumetone 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 nabumetone. If this happens to you, you should stop taking nabumetone and see a 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 suitable for you to take. This is because you should not take nabumetone 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 nabumetone. 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 nabumetone side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sick or being sick (vomiting), indigestion, stomach discomfort, windStick to simple meals, and remember to take your doses after a meal. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor
DiarrhoeaDrink plenty of water
ConstipationTry to eat a well-balanced diet and drink several glasses of water each day
Ear disorders, increased blood pressure, itchy rash, swollen hands or feetSpeak with your doctor if you are concerned about any of these

Important: if you experience any of the following less common but possibly serious symptoms, stop taking nabumetone and contact a 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 stomach pains.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, 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.

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Author:
Helen Allen
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
1180 (v25)
Last Checked:
21 March 2017
Next Review:
20 March 2020
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The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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