The Risks of Mixing Meloxicam & Alcohol

Published On 07-May-2020
By Tim Wood

Prescribed under the brand name 'Mobic,' meloxicam is a drug used to treat inflammation and pain. It is prescribed to patients who suffer from swelling, tenderness or pain from idiopathic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and juvenile rheumatoid. [1]

It is common knowledge that alcohol does not mix well with a prescription or over-the-counter medication. But how serious can combining alcohol and meloxicam be? In this post, we answer all your questions and debunk the myths around drinking while taking this form of anti-inflammatory drug.

What are the common side effects of meloxicam?

Patients taking meloxicam experience might a wide variety of side effects from the drug alone. These include:

From the less severe:

  • Bloating or diarrhoea
  • Heartburn, gas and constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness and headaches

To the more severe:

  • Swelling of your lips, tongue or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • And hives

If you experience any of the above signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) seek medical assistance immediately.

To the most worrying:

  • Problems in vision slurred speech shortness of breath are chest pain
  • Tarry or black stools
  • Vomiting, coughing up blood that resembles coffee grounds
  • Rapid weight gain or swelling
  • Sudden inability to urinate
  • Jaundice, loss of appetite, upper stomach pain or nausea
  • Muscle weakness, numbness severe tingling, skin rashes or bruising
  • Fever accompanied by severe rashes swelling in your face with tongue or sore throat
  • burning eyes hard painful skin
  • Red rash that spreads causing your skin to peel or blister

Anyone who has been prescribed a new drug such as meloxicam should always watch for any reactions and contact their physician. Stop taking meloxicam and consult your physician if you experience any of the above-listed symptoms. [2]

How dangerous is meloxicam?

As you see meloxicam can have some side effects, of which some can be serious. In the vast majority of cases, it is a safe drug to use. However recreational use of meloxicam can be dangerous to an individual's health.

Even though it is too weak to cause any euphoric feelings, some patients still try to combine it with strong alcohol to increase its pain-relieving effects. This, of course, is an extremely dangerous behaviour

How long does it take for meloxicam to take effect?

Meloxicam can take effect within 30 minutes, and patients have reported feeling the positive effects of meloxicam up to two hours after taking it.

For the full effects of meloxicam to set in, most doctors advise waiting two weeks. Meloxicam has the ability to remain in the body for 24 hours, which is why it is incredibly important to assess your dosage and wait for the right amount of time before drinking alcohol.

How long after taking meloxicam can I drink?

If you have been prescribed meloxicam for long-term usage and you should avoid alcohol intake altogether. For short-term medical usage, you are advised to wait at least 24 hours after your last dosage. It is wisest to wait a whole day before drinking alcohol.

Is alcohol banned while taking meloxicam?

The warning label on meloxicam states that alcohol consumption is prohibited while taking it. This label is there for very good reasons.

Doctors and pharmacists have also strongly claimed in the past that drinking alcohol should not be on your list of things to do if your pain or inflammation is so severe it warrants the use of meloxicam. [3]

Mixing alcohol with meloxicam can increase the risk of issues in the GI tract as well as heightening your chances of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Consuming more than three alcoholic beverages while on meloxicam puts you at a much higher risk of getting a stomach ulcer.

Can I have one glass of wine with meloxicam?

Consuming any alcohol is ill-advised while on any prescription medication. If you do choose to consume a glass of wine it is unlikely to cause severe damage to your health. 

But we are all aware of how one glass of wine easily leads to another, and this is where the issue lies. Excessive alcohol consumption, or even one glass of wine per night while taking meloxicam, can result in complexities and issues.

If you cannot stop drinking alcohol while you have been prescribed medication, it is best you reflect on your drinking habits and seek the necessary help.

Short-term symptoms when drinking alcohol and while on Meloxicam

Drinking alcohol while on meloxicam can cause severe damage to the stomach, liver, and gut. Here are some potential side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach Pain

Dangers of drinking while taking meloxicam

Below we have discussed in greater detail the associated risks of mixing alcohol with meloxicam: [4]

1. Bleeding Risk

Numerous studies have found that show that the results of taking Mobic and alcohol together are not positive. Pharmaceutical companies and doctors on the FDA clearly state that there is a risk of bleeding while taking these together. This bleeding can occur in the gut, GI tract, or liver.

2. Gastritis Risk

Both alcohol consumption and the use of meloxicam alone are known to increase your risk of contracting gastritis. When you combine the two of them together, this risk is elevated even higher. This can result in:

  • Ulcers
  • Permanent stomach damage
  • Low blood iron
  • Low vitamin B12
  • Stomach cancer

3. Gout

If you're using meloxicam as a treatment for gout it's not advisable to drink alcohol as I could cause the following:

  • Heart Attack and Stroke
  • Severe joint pain, swelling or redness

4. Heart attack

Being aware that mixing alcohol and meloxicam could result in a heart attack is key. You should watch out for the following signs if you know that you, or someone you know, has taken the two:

  • Suddenly slurred speech
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea (in women)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Exhaustion (in women)
  • Left-arm or shoulder pain
  • Sudden changes in vision

Other medications meloxicam interacts with

Here is a list of medications that meloxicam is known to have had a negative interaction with in the past: [5]

  • Meloxicam has been known to reduce the overall effectiveness of some blood pressure medications
  • Oxycontin: like many other prescription medications interact badly with other prescription drugs don’t take with meloxicam
  • Lithium: When combined with lithium it can impede the kidney’s ability to excrete lithium from the body leading to the potential of lithium toxicity
  • Aminoglycoside: Combining the use of meloxicam with an aminoglycoside such as gentamicin or methotrexate such as Trexall or Rheumatrex can accentuate the side effects of these medications.
  • Cyclosporine: Meloxicam has also been known to increase the impact of cyclosporine on your kidney functions as well as reducing the impact all of Lasix and thiazide diuretics
  • Blood thinners: If you've been prescribed blood thinners you should stop taking meloxicam all together as this could lead to bleeding
  • Corticosteroids: Prednisone and other corticosteroids can also increase your risk of bleeding when combined with meloxicam
  • Aspirin: Anyone who is taking aspirin should be careful taking this medicine as it increases your risk of getting a gastrointestinal ulcer, meloxicam is also known to reduce aspirins effectiveness.
  • Intestinal tablets: Colestid (colestipol), Questran (cholestyramine ) or Welchol (colesevelam) is prescribed to restrict the intestine’s ability to absorb, which may inhibit the effectiveness of Meloxicam
  • Kayexalate: Sorbitol is a component of Meloxicam, which you should not combine with Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate), it can potentially cause fatal intestinal necrosis

Meloxicam and substance abuse

Despite the fact that meloxicam does not cause euphoria or any type of high, it is a substance that can lead to unhealthy dependencies and even addiction. People have reported abusing meloxicam because it is a prescribed pain killer which people incorrectly assumed to be an opioid

It is common for people who abuse alcohol to take large quantities of meloxicam to cure their hangovers. This allows them to drink in larger quantities more frequently as they have fewer immediate side effects or consequences.

However, this combination of alcohol and NSAIDs is extremely dangerous and can lead to sometimes fatal complications from bleeding and ulcers in the stomach or intestines, to heart attacks.

Need more advice?

Contact us now on 0800 111 41 08 for more advice and guidance from our team who specialise in all things addiction and recovery.

References

[1] https://patient.info/medicine/meloxicam-for-pain-and-inflammation

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12387696

[3] https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Meloxicam

[4] https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.8575.pdf

[5] https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2005/020938s013,015,021530s001,003lbl.pdf


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