What Are the Side Effects of Meloxicam (Mobic)?

Meloxicam (brand name Mobic) is a prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Mobic uses include: treating pain, inflammation, tenderness, and stiffness typically from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Mobic was approved for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. Unlike opioid medications, meloxicam is not considered addictive. However, meloxicam is sometimes abused because it is mistakenly believed to have opioids in it. The medication does not induce euphoria, but it can lead to serious side effects, especially if taken excessively.

General Side Effects of Meloxicam

Some of the side effects associated with meloxicam are usually not serious. However, you should consult with your healthcare provider if they do not go away on their own or if they are troublesome.

Some of the Meloxicam side effects that are more common include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion

Some of the Meloxicam side effects that are less frequent include:

  • Abnormal dreaming
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Mild depression
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Appetite changes, especially an increased appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Changes in vision
  • Itchy, burning, or dry eyes
  • Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus
  • Hearing loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in taste
  • Unpleasant or unusual aftertaste
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tingling or pinprick sensations
  • Thinning hair

Harmful Side Effects of Meloxicam

While many of the side effects from taking meloxicam as prescribed will pass and are not serious, some can be dangerous. The risk of these side effects may go up if a person takes too much meloxicam or uses meloxicam for a long time.

If a person experiences any of the below symptoms, they should get emergency medical help by calling 911:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness on one side or part of the body

If a person experiences any of the below side effects, they should immediately stop taking meloxicam and contact their healthcare provider:

  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Bloody vomit
  • Vomit with a coffee-ground appearance
  • Bloody, black, and/or tarry stools
  • Swelling (especially of the throat, tongue, lips, eyes, or face)
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Rash/blisters/itching
  • Fever
  • Hoarseness
  • Pale skin
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Yellowed eyes or skin
  • Pain in the back or upper right part of the stomach
  • Discolored, bloody, or cloudy urine
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms

Overdose Symptoms

It is possible to overdose on meloxicam. If a person takes too much meloxicam, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. If they had a seizure, have difficulty breathing, collapsed, or cannot be woken up, call 911 immediately. Symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Loss of energy
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloody vomit
  • Vomit with a coffee-ground appearance
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloody, black, and/or tarry stools
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Meloxicam Can Cause Long-Term Harm

All medications have potential side effects. Long-term use of NSAIDs may increase the risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding, ulcers, or holes. Long-term use of non-aspirin NSAIDs may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Bleeding, ulcers, or holes in the stomach or intestines can develop at any time during use of NSAIDs and can be fatal if untreated. People who are older, drink large amounts of alcohol, are in poor health, or are also taking other NSAIDs or certain other medications, as well as people who have been taking NSAIDs for a long time, may be at increased risk of developing these problems. These issues may happen without any warning signs, or they may present with heartburn, stomach pain, vomit with a coffee-ground appearance, bloody vomit, bloody stools and/or black and tarry stools. Contact a healthcare professional right away and stop taking meloxicam if you experience any of those symptoms.

Taking NSAIDs other than aspirin may increase a person’s risk of having a stroke or heart attack, which can be deadly. Long-term use of NSAIDs may increase this risk. People who have recently had a heart attack should not take an NSAID unless their healthcare provider specifically tells them to. Before starting an NSAID, let your health care provider know if you or anyone in your family has or has in the past had heart disease, a stroke, or a heart attack, as well as if you have or have in the past smoked, had high cholesterol, had high blood pressure, or had diabetes. Heart attack or stroke can occur without warning. Call 911 for emergency medical help if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, slurred speech, and/or weakness in one part or side of your body.

Insomnia is a potential adverse effect, as well. Insomnia can cause sleepiness during the day and lack of energy. This can cause serious problems, for instance if a person is driving when drowsy and gets into an accident. It can also lead to feeling depressed, anxious, or irritable, as well as cause difficulty focusing, learning, and remembering.

It is also possible to develop kidney damage from taking meloxicam. However, drug-induced kidney damage is often reversible if the drug causing it is stopped.

Meloxicam use can also lead to liver damage. Studies show that up to 7 percent of people who take meloxicam experience some elevated liver enzymes. This sometimes resolves on its own, even if the person is still taking meloxicam. Symptoms of liver damage may include fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or dark urine.

Some people who take NSAIDs retain water, which can lead to swelling that is uncomfortable or even dangerous, as it can cause heart failure. Fluid retention may also lead to anemia. This swelling, also known as edema, is typically most noticeable in a person’s arms, hands, legs, ankles, and feet.

Women who are pregnant should consult their healthcare provider before beginning a prescription for meloxicam, and women taking meloxicam who think they may have become pregnant should let their healthcare provider know right away. Meloxicam may cause harm to the fetus.

Patients should make sure their healthcare provider is aware of all their past and current health conditions and any use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, as well as all medications, vitamins, and supplements they are taking. This enables the provider to discuss with the patient the risks versus benefits of taking meloxicam, including the risks of possible interactions or adverse effects, and to decide if meloxicam is the right choice for that patient.

Get Help for Substance Abuse Involving Meloxicam or Other Drugs

patient getting treatment from doctor for meloxicam abuse

Meloxicam is not addictive and does not cause feelings of euphoria, but some people may mistakenly believe it is an opioid since it is prescribed for pain. These individuals may try to get high from taking excessive amounts of this medication. The drug is sometimes diverted for illicit distribution, so it sometimes can be obtained through those routes.

People who struggle with substance use problems should seek help. If their addiction is not addressed, it can cause long-term harm to their bodies and minds. Treatment programs can help you overcome addiction. These programs typically include therapy to help people understand their addiction, to develop better coping mechanisms, and to find a healthy routine that does not involve drugs or alcohol.

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