Meloxicam and Alcohol
There’s no denying that the advent of medicine has provided immense relief to humans, in terms of reducing morbidity and mortality. However, what needs NOT to be overlooked are the side effects that go hand in hand with the benefits of the drug.
Meloxicam with the brand name Mobic is no exception. It has its fair share of adverse effects if consumed in excess or taken with other medications. Mobic and alcohol if used simultaneously are also known to cause deleterious effects on health.
- 1 What is Meloxicam?
- 2 How long does Meloxicam stay in your system?
- 3 Meloxicam and Alcohol Interaction
- 4 Who should not take Meloxicam?
- 5 Side effects of Meloxicam
- 6 FAQS
Meloxicam belongs to the class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
NSAIDs reduce pain, inflammation and help to resolve fever by blocking certain enzymes (chemicals) that mediate these responses in the body.
Meloxicam is used to treat joint pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis (arthritis in children aged 16 or younger), and gout flares.
Meloxicam is available as a tablet, capsule, or liquid that can be taken orally. It is advised not to switch between different forms without consulting your doctor. A daily dose of 7.5 to 15g of Meloxicam has been declared to be safe in treating osteoarthritis. The dosage prescribed is based on your medical condition’s severity, age, weight, and other factors. It may take 2 weeks before you get the full benefit of the drug.
Meloxicam achieves peak concentration in the blood 2 hours after it is taken as a capsule and 4 to 5 hours after it is taken as a tablet. Since the drug is recycled in the liver so it manages to attain a second peak 8 hours and 12 to 14 hours after being taken as a capsule and tablet respectively. Meloxicam stays in the blood for 24 hours before it is removed from the body through urine.
Concomitant use of Meloxicam and alcohol increases the risk of side effects and doctors have banned the consumption of alcohol while using Meloxicam and other NSAIDs. Side effects of meloxicam and alcohol include:
- Bleeding– FDA has put a black box warning on Meloxicam because it causes severe bleeding from the stomach or intestines. Alcohol increases the risk of these complications since it reduces platelets, (type of blood cells) that are involved in blood clotting. As a result of using Mobic and alcohol together, you start bleeding internally. Some red flags that should not be ignored in this setting are- red blood in your vomit or stool, particles that looks like the coffee ground in your vomit, and stool that is black and tarry.
- Gastritis– Meloxicam being an NSAID interferes with the protection of the stomach lining which results in its inflammation and is termed gastritis. Alcohol and Mobic further exacerbate this effect and there is a risk of permanent stomach damage in the form of ulcers. Symptoms include stomach pain, discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Moreover, due to gastritis, the absorption of vitamin B12 is impaired which results in nerve damage and mental changes.
- Gout– When gout is being treated with Meloxicam, alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited since alcohol is known to cause gout flares and impedes the resolution of the disease. Signs to look out for gout include- severe pain in a single joint (usually your big toe), swelling or redness in a single joint that feels hot when you touch it.
- Liver damage– Since the liver is the primary site for the metabolism of meloxicam and alcohol and consequently, it is most prone to damage with excessive alcohol consumption. Each time your liver filters alcohol, some of the liver cells die and are not able to regenerate. Moreover, Meloxicam is recycled in the liver before it peaks in the blood for the second time. So liver damage caused by alcohol disrupts the regulation of Meloxicam, reducing its effectiveness. Hence, meloxicam 15mg and alcohol are not used together.
- Heart Attack and Stroke– Like other NSAIDs, Meloxicam possesses the risk of causing heart attack and stroke. Meanwhile, alcohol is known to cause remodeling of the heart muscles resulting in cardiomyopathy. Meloxicam and Alcohol interact and the combined effect of the two results in serious cardiac manifestations such as a fatal heart attack. Some alarming signs that you can not miss are chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in the left arm, or shoulder pain as these signs are the cardinal features of a heart attack.
If the patient presents with any of the aforementioned conditions it is imperative to take the patient to a medical emergency.
An individual with the following condition should avoid taking Mobic:
- Patients undergoing Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG) should not take Meloxicam before and after their surgical procedure.
- Couples who are going through fertility treatment since Mobic affects ovulation (releasing of egg from the ovary) in females and reduces the sperm count in males making it difficult to achieve conception.
- People who have known allergies to aspirin and other NSAIDs
- People who have phenylketonuria.
- People with chronic kidney disease since Mobic is known to causes interstitial nephritis (inflammation of kidney tubules).
Side effects of Meloxicam range from being mild to serious.
Some common side effects encountered with the drug are:
- Dyspepsia (Heartburn)
If the following side effects occur it is advised to seek medical help immediately:
- Chest pain
- Edema (fluid retention)
- Weight gain
- Skin allergies- hives or welts
- Heavy breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Liver problem- manifests as jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin)
- Kidney problem- presents as dyspnea (shortness of breath), swelling over ankles and feet, low urinary output.
It is advised to tell your doctor about your current medication and health status when you are prescribed Meloxicam. Moreover, for optimum results, you have to wait 2 weeks till your arthritis symptoms improve. If you still do not feel any improvement in your symptoms talk to your doctor to change your medication.
Does Meloxicam make you sleepy?
No, sleepiness is not a known side effect of meloxicam at safe dosing. However, it may cause drowsiness and headache when taken at higher doses.
How long do you have to wait to drink alcohol after taking Meloxicam?
Ideally, alcohol should not be consumed when taking Meloxicam because of the increased risk of adverse effects such as bleeding. However, it is suggested to wait for 24 hours after your last dose of the drug, before taking alcohol. It is said that drinking alcohol with food can dampen its side effects. Moreover, one dose of alcohol would not produce severe symptoms rather it is the overconsumption of alcohol with Mobic that leads to life-threatening bleeding.
Is Meloxicam a strong pain killer?
Yes, Meloxicam is a potent pain killer used to treat chronic arthritis. Unlike other NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) it is not an over-the-counter medication and needs a prescription before use.
Is Meloxicam addictive?
Meloxicam has little or no potential for being addictive. Many people consider its analgesic (pain-relieving) activity similar to opioids and overuse it.
How dangerous is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam has the potential to cause perforation in the stomach and intestine, ulcers, and bleeding all of which can be fatal.