Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is used to reduce inflammation. The primary use of this medication is to alleviate the pain associated with Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It comes in tablet or liquid form to be taken orally. Doctors may recommend taking it with food or at a certain time of day. These recommendations are intended to reduce the risk of side effects including stomach upset.
Before taking this drug tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medications, herbs, or supplements you are already taking. Other important things to tell your doctor are if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and if you have a fructose intolerance. While your doctor will likely take a full medical history, you may want to be sure they know about all allergies and intolerances.
What does Meloxicam do?
It reduces the swelling, tenderness, and stiffness that comes from arthritis. Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints and can decrease mobility. While some people may want to use it for back pain, the FDA has only approved its use in reducing swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. More specifically, it lowers the levels of prostaglandin in the blood. This is a hormone-like material that is known to cause inflammation in the body.
Meloxicam may interact with other drugs and it’s especially important to avoid using it if you’re already taking other NSAIDs. These interactions can lead to bleeding, kidney issues, liver failure, and more. Talk with your doctor to see if you can combine Meloxicam with the medications you’re already on.
Is Meloxicam Addictive?
Meloxicam does not stimulate the brain the way that opioids and narcotic medications do. Because of this, Meloxicam is not considered addictive. It’s considered a safer alternative to other painkillers and can be a great option for people with arthritis if used correctly. While it does not cause a physical addiction, it is possible for people to become psychologically addicted to it because of the relief it gives.
Is Meloxicam a Narcotic?
Meloxicam is not a narcotic. It’s a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Its primary use is to treat inflammation, especially that caused by arthritis. Other uses of NSAIDs include reducing fever, treating pain, and sometimes as a blood thinner. This can be a good or bad quality depending on the need. Some NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin are available over the counter. Others like Meloxicam are available by prescription only.
Doctors like to take a full medical history before prescribing Meloxicam. They also take a full assessment of all the medications you are on prior to surgery. Most of the time you will be required to be off of NSAIDs for up to two weeks prior to surgery. This is because the blood-thinning properties could cause profuse bleeding during surgery if you are still taking these medications.
Because it’s not a narcotic, most people assume that it is not addictive. While Meloxicam is not addictive in the same way that morphine is, it can become habit-forming.
Side Effects of Meloxicam / Dependence
All prescription medications come with some risk of side effects. While some are considered normal and nothing to be concerned about, if side effects worsen or persist, you may want to contact your doctor. Some of these can be mitigated by simply taking the medicine with food or drink, while others may need to be taken at a different time of day. Your doctor may prescribe or recommend over-the-counter medications to counteract the milder symptoms.
Common side effects of Meloxicam include:
- stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, or gas
- drowsiness, dizziness, or headache
- cold-like symptoms: runny or stuffy nose, or sore throat
- skin rash
- chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech
- vision problems or trouble balancing
- stool changes that are black, bloody, or tarry
- coughing up blood
- vomiting what looks like coffee grounds
- increased swelling in the hands or feet, or rapid weight gain
- lack of energy or excessive tiredness
If you have any of the following symptoms, please contact your health care provider right away as they may indicate a more severe response to Meloxicam. They are rare but can cause major problems.
Meloxicam can become habit-forming. When people are dependent on it, there are some signs and symptoms to watch out for. Also, it’s vital to never take more than the recommended dosing. This can lead to serious side effects and increased dependence on Meloxicam.
You’ll know you are becoming dependent if you start running out of the medication before expected, if you are going to different doctors to try and get more of it if you are being sneaky, and if you are stealing pills from friends or family members. You’ll also know you’re becoming addicted if you take even when you are no longer in pain.
Overuse can lead to bleeding, kidney problems, and some of the less common side effects. It’s important to take Meloxicam only as directed and to inform your doctor if you have any medical conditions.
Alternatives to Meloxicam
There are many different prescriptions and non-prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on the market. There are also many different drugs to treat the inflammation associated with Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and Aleve (naproxen sodium) are a few of the most common NSAIDs that are available over the counter.
Additionally, some doctors may prescribe narcotic drugs for acute pain. These medications are meant to be used short-term.
Because Meloxicam is not considered an addictive drug, detoxing from it may not be necessary. Many doctors will allow their patients to go off Meloxicam cold-turkey. This means that you can stop taking it right away without the risk of harmful side effects. If you are becoming dependent on Meloxicam it may be necessary to find a local detox center near you to help manage the withdrawal symptoms you experience.
Talk to your doctor about other ways to manage your arthritis pain. There may be exercises, lifestyle changes, or dietary changes that can alleviate some of the pain. Inflammation impacts more than your joints, but those are the parts of the body that feel it the most.