Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) usually prescribed for the relief of pain and inflammation in patients having rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. They are also referred to as ‘anti-inflammatories’. It is available as oral tablet, capsule and oral suspension. The oral tablets are available as both generic and brand-name forms. The common brand name for the oral tablet is known as Mobic while that of the capsule is Vivlodex. Suspension meloxicam is only available in brand name form (Mobic). The generic forms of both the oral tablet and capsule cost less than the brand name forms but may not be available in all strengths as the brand ones.
Meloxicam reduces pain, swelling and loosen up stiff joints. It is used majorly to treat all types of arthritis which include juvenile arthritis (in children above 2 years), osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Meloxicam works by blocking the enzyme prostaglandin and lowering its level in the body. Prostaglandin is a chemical substance that mimics the character of hormones and is responsible for inflammation at the joints. As this substance causes pain, tenderness and swelling which are symptoms of arthritis, lowering it will in turn reduce these symptoms leading to the patient’s relief. Before commencing treatment with this drug, go through the instruction manual that is given to you by your pharmacist. Also do same if you are getting a refill. Meloxicam was approved for use in 2000.
If orodispersible tablets were prescribed (tablets that are to be melted in the mouth first, before swallowing) by your doctor or pharmacist, ensure that your mouth is moistened (you can take a sip of water) before taking the drug. Make sure you do not moisten the tablet while removing it from the packet. Allow time for it to dissolve slowly in your tongue (about 5 minutes required). Try not chew or swallow such tablet before it melts in your mouth.
How to take Meloxicam
This medication is to be taken by mouth and washed down the throat with a full glass of water (unless told otherwise by your doctor). It is better to take each dose with a meal or a snack. Continue to drink plenty water while on this medication. Sit upright (or stand) for at least 10 minutes after taking this drug, try not to lie down for these few minutes. If you are taking the suspension type of meloxicam medication, shake containing vessel well before taking each dose. Make sure you use the special measuring device to measure out the dosage prescribed for you.
You should not replace this device with household spoon as it will alter the dosage specified for you due to varying dimensions. In any incidence of stomach upset while on this medication, ensure you use this drug with milk, antacid or food to support your stomach contents and prevent such upsets. Meloxicam is most effective when used at same time on a daily basis. Importantly, keeping a strict medication routine while using this drug will also guarantee speedy results.
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Those above 18 suffering from osteoarthritis are usually advised by their doctors or pharmacists to start their medication with initial dose of 7.5 mg, taken once daily. As they continue with this medication, the doctor or pharmacist might increase the dosage to a maximum of 15 mg daily. No dosage has been established for those suffering from osteoarthritis who are below 18 years.
Medication starts with a once daily dosage of 7.5 mg for people above 18 suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The daily dosage may also be increased to 15 mg by their doctor.
Dosage for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is usually prescribed by doctors to starting at 0.125 mg per kilogram of the body mass, to be taken once daily. The dosage can be increased to a maximum of 7.5 mg daily. Little children above 2years are usually treated with the oral liquid type of meloxicam. There is no established dosage for children under 2 years.
No matter the form of arthritis, this drug should be used in the shortest possible time and dosage should be the most effective minimum. Take this medication as directed by your doctor even if It differs from what is written on the manual. Tell your doctor about any misgivings you might have about your supposed dosage. Certain conditions like your body weight, extent of discomfort and overall health determine how your dose can be adjusted to suit you specifically.
It is not advisable to share this medication with another person even if they exhibit the same symptoms as you do. To monitor the effectiveness or any adverse effect of this drug, medical tests like blood count, kidney function or blood pressure tests might be taken. Discuss with your doctor to know if non-drug treatment for arthritis is more beneficial for you. Adjustments like weight loss and exercises might be just what you need to treat your condition. In such cases, taking drugs may not be best for you.
If you discover that you have missed a dose, take it immediately. However, if you make such discovery close to the time for your next dose, wait till the next dose and take only a single dose. Do not double your dose to make up for a missed dose.
If you accidentally overdose this drug, contact emergency medical help. Symptoms of overdose include severe stomach pain, continuous vomiting, shallow breathing and serious drowsiness.
Certain people are not to take meloxicam due to some health challenges. If they must use this medication, extra care must be taken. Tell your doctor about any important detail about your health. Let your doctor decide if you should start or continue with this medication.
It is very important to let your doctor know;
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive
- If you have a history of stomach or duodenal ulcer
- If you have liver or kidney problem
- If you are asthmatic
- If you are allergic to any substance especially those that are ingredients of this drug
- If you have any problem with your blood vessel or circulation
- If you have a poor heart
- If you smoke
- If your blood pressure is high
- If your cholesterol or sugar level is high
- If you have any history of blood clotting problems
- If you are allergic to any NSAID drug like ibuprofen and aspirin or any other medicine
- If you are currency on any prescribed or non-prescribed medication, vitamins, supplements and herbal substances
- If you have the inflammatory condition called lupus
Meloxicam Side Effects
The body has its way of reacting to new substances. All drugs are made to be beneficial to the human system. However, often times they might affect the body system as it tries to adjust to the drug. Meloxicam has some side effects that arise as the body tries to adjust to the medication. Your doctor or pharmacist will only prescribe this drug if confident that it will cause more good than harm to you. If the reverse is the case for you, meloxicam is better not taken. There might be alternative drugs that can effectively treat your situation. The minor side effects are expected to get better as the body get used to the drug.
These side effects include:
- Light sensitivity
- Increased blood pressure
- Mood swings
You can manage the side effects with some lifestyle adjustments as your body continue to adjust to the drug. These effects can be managed in the following ways:
- Take this drug after meal or with a snack if you feel indigestion
- Drink more water, take vegetables and fruits high in fibre if you have constipation while on this medication
- Eat simple meals you can hold down if you are vomiting while taking this drug. Take more water to replenish fluids lost in vomit
- If this drug makes gives diarrhoea, take plenty water to keep you hydrated as you will lose body fluid in frequent stool. Take simple meals that will not upset your system. This way the drug will be held down and complete it’s function.
- Since this medication increases blood pressure, it is best to constantly monitor your blood pressure while on it. In any case of unhealthy blood pressure increase, contact your doctor.
The minor side effects will normally clear in some hours if adjustments are made. However in rare situations, they might progress to severe side effects. If you start experiencing these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or visit an emergency medical center:
Itchy skin or swelling areas around your mouth or face
- Persistent headache
- Ringing in the ear
- If you bruise easily unlike before treatment
- Breathing problems like wheezing and breathlessness
- Abdominal pain that might be accompanied with vomiting blood and passage of dark stool
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Sudden weight gain
- Blurred vision
- Appearance of red spots on your skin
- Swelling of the feet and ankle
Discontinue this medication as soon as your symptoms graduate to the above mentioned conditions. If you notice any other effect of this drug not mentioned, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Warnings regarding the use of meloxicam
The Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA) has rated this drug with a black box warning. A black box warning is the most severe warning that can be issued by the FDA. It draws the attention of doctors, pharmacists and patients to the dangerous effects of this drug. The following high risks are associated with meloxicam;
Increase in blood pressure that may lead to blood clotting, heart attack or even stroke. The tendency to experience this condition is high if you have a history of heart problem, high blood pressure or any related health conditions. Patients who are on prolonged medication with this drug are also at high risk of a heart attack that may be fatal. If you are getting ready for a heart bypass surgery (or you have already done one), do not take meloxicam for pain. It will also increase your risk of stroke and heart attack.
Meloxicam might make you develop stomach and intestinal problems like bleeding, ulcers, perforations in the stomach or intestine. All these may be fatal if not monitored and assessed. These effects might occur without expressing itself in a noticeable manner (you might be unaware), during the course of your medication. Adults (starting from 65 years and above) are more susceptible to this reaction.
If you are allergic to any NSAID, do not take this drug. It might trigger a more severe reaction.
Bladder damage can be caused by meloxicam usage. It’s effect on the liver can express symptoms like yellowing of the skin or whitening of the eye. Liver inflammation that might lead to liver failure is possible. Let your doctor check your liver function when you are on this drug.
Apart from the possibility of making your blood pressure worse, the efficiency of blood pressure medication can be reduced by meloxicam if used together.
If you are trying for a baby (or already pregnant), do not take this drug. It has been reported to decrease fertility in women. If you must use it during pregnancy, stop in your last trimester. It might cause heart and kidney problem for the developing baby. Labour might be prolonged with too much bleeding during childbirth if a woman keeps taking this drug in her last trimester.
Meloxicam can interact with other drugs when taken at the same time. They either prevent the other drug from functioning fully or may be harmful to your health. To avoid drug interactions, let your doctor manage all your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to know which drug interacts with meloxicam. Examples of drugs that interact with this meloxicam include drugs that lower the level of potassium in the body, NSAIDs, cyclosporine, methotrexate, anticoagulant blood thinners, antidepressants, heart drugs and drugs for bipolar disorder. Read the information on the package or leaflet to get all the information on drug interactions and side effects.
Store meloxicam at room temperature (25 degree C), out of children’s reach. Keep them in their original containers and close tightly. Store away from extreme temperatures. Do not freeze meloxicam suspension, keep away from damp areas. Dispose drug properly, out of reach of children and pets.