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Medications Lexicon

How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Meloxicam belongs to the family of medications known as COX-2 inhibiting nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and painful osteoarthritis in adults. It helps with these conditions by relieving pain and reducing swelling and inflammation.

NSAIDs work by blocking a response to injury in the body that leads to inflammation and pain.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

Rheumatoid arthritis: The usual recommended dose is 15 mg once daily. For some people who may respond well to the medication, their doctor can reduce the dose to 7.5 mg once daily, according to need.

Osteoarthritis: The usual recommended dose is 7.5 mg once daily. Some people may benefit from receiving up to 15 mg once daily, and the dose can be increased by their doctor according to need.

This medication may be taken with or without food.

The use of this medication should be limited to the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time needed.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is the following day before you remember it, do not take the missed dose but go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

7.5 mg
Each yellow coloured, circular, flat, bevelled, uncoated tablet, with central break-line on one side and plain on the other, contains 7.5 mg meloxicam. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal silicone dioxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, starch, and sodium citrate.

15 mg
Each yellow coloured, circular, flat, bevelled, uncoated tablet, with central break-line on one side and plain on the other, contains 15 mg meloxicam. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal silicone dioxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, starch, and sodium citrate.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Meloxicam should not be taken by anyone who:

  • is allergic to meloxicam or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • is about to have or has recently had coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery
  • is pregnant or breast-feeding
  • is under 18 years of age
  • has active or recent stomach or intestine ulcers or bleeding
  • has bleeding of the brain or other bleeding disorders
  • has experienced asthma, hives, nasal polyps, or allergic reactions after taking ASA or other NSAIDs
  • has higher than normal levels of potassium in the blood
  • has inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • has severe kidney impairment or worsening kidney function
  • has severe liver impairment or active liver disease
  • has severe uncontrolled heart failure

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • indigestion
  • nausea

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • depression or mental confusion
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • headaches or stiff neck
  • hearing problems
  • pain while urinating or difficulty urinating
  • swelling of feet or lower legs, or unexplained weight gain
  • signs of liver damage (e.g., yellow skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-coloured stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or itching)
  • vomiting or persistent nausea, indigestion, stomach pain, or diarrhea

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • bloody or black, tarry stools or dark urine
  • bloody vomit with material that looks like coffee grounds
  • blurred vision or other vision changes
  • changes in the amount or colour of urine (such as red or brown urine)
  • fainting
  • puffiness or swelling around the eyes, lips, or tongue
  • seizures
  • severe stomach pain
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash, hives or swelling, itching, chills, fever, muscle aches and pains, or other flu-like symptoms
  • tightness in chest
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Alcohol: People taking this medication should not drink alcohol as this can increase the risk of stomach problems with the medication.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Meloxicam may reduce mental or physical abilities required for performance of hazardous tasks such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle. Do not undertake such activities until you have determined that it does not have this effect on you.

Fertility: Fertility may be decreased in people taking this medication. This medication is not recommended for women who are trying to get pregnant.

Heart attack and stroke: The use of COX-2 NSAIDs, including meloxicam, is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The risk is increased with higher total daily doses and taking the medication over long periods of time. If you have a history of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of taking this medication. Ask your doctor about all available treatment options that may be right for you.

Informing health professionals: Be sure to tell any health professionals (including your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, and dentist) involved in your care that you are taking this medication, particularly if you are scheduled for heart surgery.

Medical conditions: If you have high blood pressure, heart failure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease, or if you have had a stomach ulcer or bleeding in the past, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Pregnancy: This medication is not recommended for pregnant women. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication is not recommended for breast-feeding women.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

Seniors: Seniors may have a higher risk of side effects and should be closely monitored by their doctors while taking this medication.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between meloxicam and any of the following:

  • angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., ramipril, enalapril, captopril, quinapril)
  • antiplatelet medications (e.g., acetylsalicylic acid, clopidogrel, and ticlopidine)
  • cholestyramine
  • cyclosporine
  • furosemide
  • glucocorticoid medications (e.g., cortisone, dexamethasone, prednisone)
  • heparin
  • hydrochlorothiazide
  • lithium
  • methotrexate
  • other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g., citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine)
  • tacrolimus
  • warfarin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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