Meloxicam (Mobic) is a prescription medication that is part of the family of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by decreasing the output of a substance in the body that causes inflammation, which is the main source of pain in arthritis.
Per MedlinePlus, this medication is often used to treat:
Osteoarthritis, which is arthritis resulting from the erosion of joints.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which is arthritis that only affects children.
It is sold as a liquid (suspension) or tablet. The liquid form of meloxicam should be shaken so it can be taken properly. The tablet form of meloxicam should be taken with or without food, and you should try to take it at the same time every day.
Meloxicam should only be used as a doctor instructs.
Meloxicam (Mobic) is sold in strengths of 7.5 mg and 15 mg in tablet form. In its suspension form, meloxicam is sold in a concentration of 7.5 mg per 5 mL of weight.
Meloxicam works by lessening inflammation that worsens arthritis pain. Cells and proteins that cause inflammation are reduced. This helps people avoid other complications, such as difficulties with organs or even rashes that could stem from inflammation.
The medication can also decrease and postpone depletion of joints from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but it does not solve this problem for osteoarthritis.
So far, NSAIDs such as meloxicam have not been found to be addictive. However, a 2017 case report from Addictive Behaviors looked at a patient who exhibited symptoms of misuse.
This case report mentioned that a patient could be diagnosed with misuse disorder for NSAIDs, but the patient was misusing ibuprofen.
What is more common is for people to use high amounts of NSAIDs such as meloxicam due to a misunderstanding of how they work.
In February 2018, Reuters reported that most Americans perceive NSAIDs to be safe. This caused some people to take excessive amounts of such medications. The report found that about 15 percent of adults in the United States took excessive amounts of medication such as meloxicam, among others.
A 2016 paper published by the British Journal of General Practice mentions that NSAIDs — whether they are prescription medications or not — pose various risks.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meloxicam only helps you if you keep taking it. Once you stop, your symptoms will come back.
Misuse of meloxicam and other NSAIDs is rare, but a July 2017 case report from Addictive Behaviors mentioned that rare cases of abuse had been documented.
Per the case report, the patient in the study met the criteria for substance abuse according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
The standards for substance misuse according to the DSM-5 look for misuse of drugs, such as marijuana, caffeine, alcohol, psychedelics, and inhalants. These standards also look at other drugs that also have the potential for misuse. Some of these criteria are:
The DSM-5 also allows psychiatrists to find out how much of a problem drug use is. In order to do this, the DSM-5 looks at how many symptoms a person has.
Mild substance use disorders display two or three symptoms.
Moderate substance use disorders show four or five symptoms.
Severe substance use disorders show six or more symptoms of problem use.
Even prescription medication can cause or trigger a mental health disorder brought on by substance use. Though misuse of NSAIDs such as meloxicam is rare, substance use can activate the following disorders:
The British Journal of General Practice mentions that doctors can prescribe alternative medications to prevent people from facing the negative side effects of NSAIDs such as meloxicam. This includes prescribing topical NSAIDs instead and using paracetamol.
The journal also mentions that general practitioners should start looking at the safety of NSAIDs. Even if they do not cause addiction as other drugs do, their side effects are still impactful.
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Overuse of NSAIDs is more of a problem than their misuse. The British Journal of General Practice suggests that standards for prescribing NSAIDs need to be overhauled.
It is also possible to overdose on NSAIDs. Unlike other medication, meloxicam does not cause a person to feel high or intoxicated in any way. Changes in mood have not been reported with meloxicam.
Though meloxicam does not cause addiction in the traditional sense, Reuters reports that people in the United States are using NSAIDs of all kinds at excessive amounts. If you are concerned about overusing NSAIDs, discuss alternative treatment methods with your doctor.
There are various safe ways to decrease inflammation that your doctor can recommend.
RICE: This method is safe and involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Eat healthy and possibly take supplements as recommended by your doctor.
Try topical treatments that can assist with pain and inflammation.
Rest from everyday tasks that cause you to use a part of your body that suffers from inflammation.
Though you do not have to worry about becoming addicted to meloxicam, treatment for overuse can be useful. Dependence in the traditional sense has not been reported either, but once you stop taking meloxicam, your symptoms will come back unless you deal with the issue in alternative ways.
If you are concerned about overuse, your doctor can let you know if you are using too much meloxicam for arthritis. They can prescribe other medications or treatment methods that are appropriate for your situation.
(August 2018) Mobic (Meloxicam) for Arthritis Treatment. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.verywellhealth.com/mobic-meloxicam-what-you-need-to-know-2552190
(May 2017) Everything you need to know about NSAIDs. Medical News Today. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/179211.php
(March 2019) Best Anti-Inflammatory Medication. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.verywellhealth.com/best-anti-inflammatory-medication-2548734
(July 2016) Meloxicam. MedlinePlus. Retrieved March 2019 from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601242.html
(March 2019) Meloxicam. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/meloxicam-oral-route/description/drg-20066928
(November 2016) Overuse and Misperceptions of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs in the United States. The American Journal of Medical Sciences. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27865294
(April 2016) The dangers of NSAIDs: look both ways. British Journal of General Practice. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4809680/
(July 2017) Identification of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use disorder: A case report. Addictive Behaviors. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28214737
(September 2018) A Guide to DSM 5 Criteria for Substance Use Disorders. Verywell Mind. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/dsm-5-criteria-for-substance-use-disorders-21926