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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.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. 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 starting dose of meloxicam to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis 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 recommended dose to relieve osteoarthritis pain is 7.5 mg once daily. The doctor may increase this to 15 mg taken once daily if necessary.

For both conditions, the maximum dose of meloxicam is 15 mg taken once daily.

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

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

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

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

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • gas/flatulence
  • headache
  • indigestion
  • mouth ulcers
  • nausea
  • sensitivity to sunlight
  • sleepiness
  • sore mouth
  • uncomfortable feeling in the stomach
  • weight changes

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

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

  • blurred vision
  • confusion
  • fever
  • high blood pressure
  • pain while urinating or difficulty urinating
  • pounding heart beat
  • ringing in the ears
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • signs of anemia (low red blood cells; e.g., dizziness,  pale skin, unusual tiredness or weakness, shortness of breath)
  • signs of clotting problems (e.g., unusual nosebleeds, bruising, blood in urine, coughing blood,  bleeding gums, cuts that don’t stop bleeding)
  • signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
  • signs of infection (symptoms may include fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness)
  • signs of kidney problems (e.g., increased urination at night, decreased urine production, blood in the urine, painful or difficult urination)
  • 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)
  • skin rash or itching
  • small, red spots on skin
  • swelling of the lower legs, ankles, or feet
  • unexplained weight gain
  • vomiting or persistent nausea, indigestion, stomach pain, or diarrhea

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

  • changes in the amount or colour of urine (such as red or brown urine)
  • fainting
  • seizures
  • severe stomach pain
  • shortness of breath
  • signs of bleeding in the stomach (e.g., bloody, black, or  tarry stools, spitting up of blood, vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)
  • signs of breathing problems (e.g., shortness of breath, troubled breathing, wheezing, or tightness in chest, fast or irregular breathing)
  • signs of meningitis not caused by infection (e.g., headache (severe), throbbing, or with stiff neck or back)
  • signs of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, mouth, throat, or tongue)
  • signs of a severe skin reaction (e.g., blistering, peeling, a rash covering a large area of the body, a rash that spreads quickly, or a rash combined with fever or discomfort)

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.

Allergic reactions: If you have had a reaction to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, ketoprofen, diclofenac) that included a runny nose, itchy skin rash, nasal polyps, or shortness of breath and wheezing, you should not take this medication. If you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing, wheezing; swelling of the face, tongue, or throat), get immediate medical attention.

Bladder symptoms: This medication can cause bladder symptoms such as frequent or painful urination and blood in urine. If you develop these symptoms, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor immediately.

Blood pressure: Like other NSAIDs, meloxicam can cause increased blood pressure, which may contribute to other heart conditions. If you have high blood pressure, 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.

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. Avoid these and other hazardous tasks until you are sure that this medication does not affect your ability to do these safely.

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. This 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.

Heart conditions: This medication can cause fluid retention which will make symptoms of certain heart conditions worse. If you have heart failure, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions that increase your risk of fluid retention (e.g., kidney problems), 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.

Infection: This medication may mask signs of infection such as fever or muscle aches. If you notice other symptoms of infection (e.g., painful or frequent urination, sore throat, cough) contact your doctor.

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.

Kidney function: This medication can affect kidney function. You have a higher risk of developing kidney problems if you are a senior, take diuretics (water pills; e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide), or already have kidney disease or heart failure. Your doctor may monitor your kidney function with blood tests when you are taking this medication. Meloxicam is not recommended for people with severely reduced kidney function if they are not receiving dialysis.

Liver function: This medication may affect your liver function or cause liver problems. If you experience symptoms of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, feeling tired, yellowing of the skin or eyes) contact your doctor immediately. If you have liver problems, 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. People with severely reduced liver function or have active liver disease should not take this medication.

Potassium levels: Meloxicam may cause high blood potassium levels. You are more at risk of high blood potassium if you are a senior, have diabetes or kidney failure, or are taking beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol, atenolol), angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., ramipril, enalapril), or some diuretics (e.g., triamterene, amiloride). Because extremely high blood potassium levels can contribute to other conditions, such as heart problems, your doctor will monitor your potassium level with blood tests while you are taking this medication.

Ulcers and bleeding in the stomach and intestines: This medication may cause stomach ulcers and bleeding from the stomach. These complications can occur at any time and are sometimes severe.

If you have had a stomach or intestinal ulcer, diverticulosis, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, 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.

If you experience symptoms of an ulcer or other stomach problems (e.g., stomach or abdominal pain, black stools, blood or coffee grind-like vomit, weakness), contact your doctor immediately or get immediate medical attention.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. It must not be used during the last 3 months of pregnancy as it may cause heart and kidney problems for the developing baby and cause prolonged labour with excessive bleeding during delivery.

Breast-feeding: Many anti-inflammatory medications are known to pass into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking meloxicam, it may affect your baby. Breast-feeding is not recommended while you are taking meloxicam.

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:

  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • aliskiren
  • alteplase
  • aminoglycoside antibiotics (e.g., amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin)
  • amiodarone
  • angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., ramipril, enalapril, captopril, quinapril)
  • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs; e.g., candasartan, irbesartan, losartan)
  • apixaban
  • aprepitant
  • "azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
  • beta-adrenergic blockers (e.g., atenolol, propranolol, sotalol)
  • bimatoprost
  • bisphosphonates (e.g., alendronate, etidronate)
  • bosentan
  • carbamazepine
  • celecoxib
  • cholestyramine
  • cilostazol
  • clopidogrel
  • colestipol
  • cyclosporine
  • dabigatran
  • dabrafenib
  • dasatinib
  • deferasirox
  • delaviridine
  • desmopressin
  • desvenlafaxine
  • digoxin
  • dipyridamole
  • diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene)
  • eplerenone
  • fenofibrate
  • fluvastatin
  • gemfibrozil
  • glucosamine
  • haloperidol
  • heparin
  • herbal products that affect blood clotting (e.g., cat's claw, chamomile, evening primrose, feverfew, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, ginseng, turmeric)
  • HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., delaviridine, efavirenz, etravirine, nevirapine)
  • hydralazine
  • ibrutinib
  • latanoprost
  • lithium
  • low-molecular-weight heparins (e.g., dalteparin, enoxaparin, tinzaparin)
  • mesalamine
  • methotrexate
  • mifepristone
  • milk thistle
  • multivitamins (with vitamins A, E) with or without minerals
  • nilotinib
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs; e.g., diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • omeprazole
  • oral corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone)
  • pemetrexed
  • pentoxifylline
  • phenobarbital
  • phenytoin
  • primidone
  • probenecid
  • quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin)
  • rifampin
  • rivaroxaban
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., citalopram, duloxetine, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs; e.g., desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, venlafaxine)
  • sodium phosphates
  • sulfasalazine
  • sulfonamide antibiotics ("sulfas"; e.g., sulfisoxazole, sulfamethoxazole)
  • tacrolimus
  • tenofovir
  • ticagrelor
  • ticlopidine
  • tipranavir
  • tolbutamide
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, trimipramine)
  • trimethoprim
  • urokinase
  • vancomycin
  • venlafaxine
  • vitamin E
  • warfarin
  • zafirlukast

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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