Official answer No. Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat arthritis. What makes meloxicam unique is that it’s nonsteroidal. The medication works by reducing the hormones in the body linked to inflammation.
Different variations of meloxicam can be used to treat chronic arthritis in both adults and kids. The drug is typically targeted at severe cases brought on by rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Meloxicam can be a risky treatment as it’s been known to increase the risk of fatal heart attack or stroke. The risk becomes even higher in patients who take the drug for extended periods of time, or take higher doses. Patients should not use this medication after undergoing heart surgery.
Potentially fatal stomach or intestinal bleeding can occur while on meloxicam. These symptoms can come on without warning in older adults. If a patient starts to experience any symptoms of stomach bleeding, a doctor should be called right away. These symptoms are: black, tarry or bloody stools; vomit that looks like coffee grounds, or coughing up blood. Drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of stomach bleeding as well.
This type of arthritis treatment can be effective, but some of the side effects can be dangerous. To avoid the risk of serious injury, or worse, tell your doctor if you suffer from any of the following:
- fluid retention
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- history of stomach ulcers or bleeding
- heart attack
- history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes
Women who are pregnant shouldn’t take meloxicam during the last trimester (3 months) of pregnancy. Doing this can potentially harm the unborn baby. The medication can be transmitted to breast milk and harm a nursing baby as well. Consult a medical professional before breastfeeding while on this medication.
Meloxicam is usually taken orally via a dissolving oral tablet. But it is also available in the form of an injection. However it is prescribed, patients should follow their prescription instructions exactly. Experts also advise taking the lowest dose that’s effective for your condition.
Dosages are based on weight, so if a patient gains or loses weight, the dosage may change. If a dose is missed it can be taken as soon as you remember. However, if it’s very close to the timing of your next dose, do not double dose. In the event of an overdose, poison control should be contacted.
What to Avoid While Taking Meloxicam
If you’ve been prescribed meloxicam as treatment by your doctor, drinking and smoking should be avoided. Also, avoid taking aspirin unless instructed by a healthcare professional.
Talk to a doctor before taking other pain, fever, swelling, or cold/flu medications as they can be combination drugs containing ingredients similar to meloxicam. This includes medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen.
It’s wise to be up-front with your healthcare professional about any medications you are on, as well as your medical history, before taking meloxicam. You never know what may interact with the drug. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Other Side Effects
In addition to the potentially fatal side effects mentioned earlier, there are other symptoms that could be a sign of an adverse reaction to meloxicam.
Patients should call a doctor or stop using the medication if they experience:
- skin rash
- shortness of breath
- liver problems
- signs of stomach bleeding
- low red blood cells (anemia)
- kidney problems
- swelling or rapid weight gain
Is Meloxicam a Narcotic
Meloxicam falls into the NSAID family of drugs, which stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Researchers have started to look as a safer alternative to pain relief than other drugs like opioids or narcotics.
Currently doctors are testing a combination drug containing meloxicam for relief from painful surgeries. Results of the test have shown the drug to be capable of reducing a patient’s reliance on opioid-based pain medication by up to 50%.
But, there are challenges to an opioid substitute for pain relief. Pain can be hard to measure, and meloxicam has its own set of side effects. Side effects that can be potentially life-threatening. Despite that fact, a patient does not experience the same euphoric high as an opioid or narcotic when taking an NSAID.
Based on those facts, it would appear that meloxicam is not a narcotic.
Can Meloxicam Be Addictive
Experts say that meloxicam is not addictive, but can still be dangerous to misuse. An example might be a patient continuing to take the drug when there is no more need for it.
Doctors are still concerned with a physical or psychological dependence on the drug. But the dependence is far less severe with meloxicam than other opioid-based alternatives. Health professionals say that gastrointestinal problems and internal bleeding are a more likely side effect than psychological dependence.
But, there have still been cases where meloxicam has been abused. Patients assume the medication has opioids or narcotics in it, because it is a pain reliever. The fact that the substance is still being abused, despite no presence of opioids or narcotics, leads health experts to believe there may be a substance abuse issue associated with the drug.
People have started to misuse meloxicam with other hangover treatment drugs. The pain reliever helps to fight the symptoms of a hangover after a night of binge drinking. Although the medication achieves the desired effect in the short term, it doesn’t stop users from continuing to drink and could expose them to the dangerous effects of long term NSAID use. These side effects can include serious cardiovascular problems.
Health experts are wary of substance abuse with meloxicam. With the drug is being misused in various way, health experts believe there may still be issues with meloxicam that need to be addressed. Is meloxicam a narcotic? No. But healthcare professionals aren’t declaring the war on opioids and narcotics “won” just yet. But there is hope that there may be an end to the opioid crisis on the horizon.
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