Meloxicam Guide: What Is It & Can It Be Abused?

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.

Meloxicam Overview

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.
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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.

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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.

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Meloxicam

How Meloxicam Works

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.

Some drugs can interact with meloxicam and cause its effectiveness to change. These include:

  • Lithium
  • Aspirin
  • Blood thinners
  • ACE inhibitors

Can Meloxicam Be Misused?

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.

On 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 from the United States took excessive amounts of medication such as meloxicam, among others.

Per the report:

  • Many NSAID users were not aware of what type of drug they were taking
  • When looking at ibuprofen, the study found that 16 percent of people used it every day.

The availability of NSAIDs may make people believe they are safe, and users may not be reading labels.

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Risks of NSAID Use

A 2016 paper published by the British Journal of General Practice mentions that NSAIDs — whether they are prescription medications or not — pose various risks.

  • People who take NSAIDs are at risk of stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding (GI), and heart attack from the first day they start using the drugs.
  • Taking NSAIDs with other medication that causes interactions also increases the risk of bleeding, especially in the elderly.
  • NSAIDs increase blood pressure and cause the body to retain fluid.
  • Patients who are 65 or older are at risk of getting a kidney injury within the next 30 days.
  • Senior citizens are more likely to end up in the hospital after taking NSAIDs
  • In addition to older people, people with diabetes, liver problems, renal health issues, and high blood pressure are considered high-risk patients whose use of NSAIDs requires more monitoring.

According to the Mayo Clinic, meloxicam only helps you if you keep taking it. Once you stop, your symptoms will come back.

Symptoms of Abuse

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 DMS-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:

  • Not everyone will start misusing drugs if they are exposed, and people who already have problems with impulsive behavior may be more prone to misuse.
  • People with a substance use disorder take large amounts of their medication, or they may take it for a longer period than prescribed.
  • People may not be able to stop using the drug even if they want to quit.
  • They will continue to use the substance even if it could worsen health or a psychological problem.
  • Tolerance to a drug builds, which means they will need more of the substance so it can be effective.
  • They may feel withdrawal when missing a dose of the substance or not taking it.

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The DSM-5 also allows psychiatrists to find out how much of a problem the drug use is. In order to do this, the DSM-5 looks at how many symptoms a person has.

MILD

Mild substance use disorders display two or three symptoms

MODERATE

Moderate substance use disorders show four or five symptoms

SEVERE

Severe substance use disorders show six or more symptoms of problem use

Mental Health Disorders Triggered by Substance 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:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Reproductive or sexual disorders
  • Delirium
  • Disorders causing cognitive problems
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders

Alternatives to NSAIDs in Vulnerable People

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.

Overuse of NSAIDs is more of a problem than their misuse. TheBritish Journal of General Practice suggests that standards for prescribing NSAIDs need to be overhauled.

Meloxicam Overdose: What to Look For

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.

The following are common symptoms of overdose:

  • Bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Sleepiness

More severe symptoms of overdose include the following:

  • Heart attack
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Asthma attack

Treatment for Meloxicam Misuse

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

Eat healthy and possibly take supplements as recommended by your doctor

TRY TOPICAL TREATMENTS

Try topical treatments that can assist with pain and inflammation

REST

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.

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