Reviewed By: Barbara Rexer, DSW, LCSW, LCADC, CCS, ICCS, DRCC
If you struggle with pain or inflammation, your doctor may prescribe Meloxicam. Under the brand names Vivlodex, Mobic, and Comfort Pac-Meloxicam, the drug eases symptoms associated with various forms of arthritis. Here’s a look at what Meloxicam is, the drug’s side effects, and other important things to know about the medication.
What Is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam is a medication that treats pain and inflammation. Classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), it’s a group that also includes aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
It’s important to note that Meloxicam is not a narcotic. In fact, it isn’t even considered a controlled substance. However, unlike the other NSAIDs, Meloxicam is only available by prescription.
Meloxicam is typically used to treat conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but a doctor may also prescribe it for other purposes.
What Are the Side Effects?
Like nearly all medications, Meloxicam has side effects. The most frequently reported include abdominal pain, anemia and edema. There are also numerous potential side effects that aren’t as commonly experienced. These include:
- Digestive issues (bloating, nausea)
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Vision changes
- Changes to urine
- Breathing changes
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Changes in weight
It’s important to note that Meloxicam is a high-dose NSAID. As a result, it can be problematic for individuals with gastrointestinal or heart issues. It could also impact the kidneys’ ability to function, putting people with kidney issues at risk. Additionally, individuals with asthma may be at higher risk of having their allergies triggered.
What Are the Dangers?
Although Meloxicam is generally safe, there are some risks. Aside from the side effects above, taking too much Meloxicam can cause potentially deadly conditions or reactions. The drug raises the risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers, and perforations. Moreover, internal bleeding or digestive tract perforations can be deadly.
Meloxicam could also increase chances of heart problems or kidney damage. For those with existing conditions, even using the medication as prescribed could be a risk. When taken in doses higher than a doctor prescribes, those risks go up.
Is Meloxicam Safer Than Opioids?
All medications come with risks, and Meloxicam isn’t an exception. However, Meloxicam isn’t as likely to lead to addiction as opioids. Additionally, physical and psychological dependence are less common, reducing the chances of long-term abuse.
That doesn’t mean Meloxicam can’t pose dangers. If a person takes doses higher than their doctor prescribes, there is the potential for harm, including significant and permanent damage. Even overdose is possible, and that could lead to death.
How is Meloxicam Abused?
You can’t get “high” by taking Meloxicam. As a result, it isn’t typically used recreationally. Additionally, since it doesn’t impact the brain’s reward system, doctors don’t consider it to be addictive. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for abuse.
Since Meloxicam is prescribed to individuals looking for pain relief, some people assume it’s a narcotic. They may take doses that are larger than specified, hoping for a high that isn’t coming or looking for additional relief from severe pain. In both of those scenarios, a person is taking the medication in a way other than how it was prescribed, but they rarely get the effect they want.
How to Get Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse
If you have become addicted to any prescription drug, it’s important to seek out treatment from medical professionals. Not only can they help you safely stop using the medication, but they can also help you safely manage dangerous, and potentially deadly, side effects. Moreover, professional clinicians and mental health professionals can provide you with the support and guidance you need to free yourself from the drug.Have questions about addiction?
Chat with one of our recovery specialists now.