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Key Points

  • Meloxicam is not a narcotic and doesn’t work the same way a narcotic medication would.
  • Most of the time, meloxicam is taken long-term
  • Meloxicam isn’t generally considered an addictive medication. However, if you feel that you are experiencing addictive symptoms with this drug or with any other drug, getting assistance as soon as possible is important.

If you’re currently taking meloxicam, you may be wondering, “Is meloxicam a narcotic?” Understanding your prescriptions is one of the first and most powerful things you can do to keep yourself safe while taking strong medications. It can also be an important part of avoiding addiction and ensuring you know what the potential signs of a problem are while you’re taking medication.

Meloxicam is a prescription medication that’s starting to be used more often, sometimes as a replacement for other medications that are seen as riskier or more likely to cause problems for the people who use it.

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But unlike some of those medications that are better known and understood by most patients, meloxicam doesn’t have a reputation that tells patients what they are being prescribed before they get it.

So, if you or a loved one has recently been prescribed meloxicam and you’re worried you don’t know the potential risks, or are questioning, “is meloxicam a narcotic you need to be concerned about,” here’s what you need to know.

Is Meloxicam A Narcotic?

What Is Meloxicam?

The first thing you need to know is what meloxicam actually is and how this drug works. In this section, we’ll also talk about how and when meloxicam is used and whether there is an addiction risk or other problems associated with taking this medication.

Meloxicam belongs to the NSAID medication group, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This categorization basically means that meloxicam helps reduce pain by interfering with the inflammation process, which can reduce pressure on nerves and prevent them from signaling pain; it’s also a relatively strong medication, which is why it’s typically available only by prescription.

Meloxicam is not generally prescribed for every day aches and pains. If you have chronic pain, an injury, arthritis, inflammation, or other causes of more significant pain that over-the-counter medications and alternative options like ice or heat therapy won’t handle, your doctor may consider meloxicam or similar medications for you; this is because drugs like meloxicam can offer more long term solutions than over-the-counter drugs usually can.

When it comes to meloxicam, there are many advantages. For one thing, patients often only need to take one pill a day, thus simplifying the medication process. Additionally, there are generic versions of the drug available to reduce costs, and it’s also often easier on your stomach than other NSAID medications.

At the same time meloxicam is being taken, it’s important for patients to avoid other NSAID medications because that can cause severe health problems, including stomach bleeding, liver and kidney problems, and heart damage.

Meloxicam also isn’t a good option for people who are or want to become pregnant and isn’t available for short-term pain treatment. It’s designed for, and best used as, a long-term treatment for injuries or chronic pain conditions like arthritis.

Is Meloxicam A Narcotic Drug?

So, is meloxicam a narcotic medication? In short, no. meloxicam is not a narcotic and doesn’t work the same way a narcotic medication would. The good news is that, because meloxicam isn’t a narcotic, it’s much less likely to cause addiction or other dependence problems, and maybe a powerful and safer alternative for managing pain for some patients.

Doctors are also exploring whether meloxicam could be useful in various treatments. If found that meloxicam is a safer alternative to narcotics or other more addictive medications, it may start to be prescribed by doctors and used more widely by pain patients.

However, there are still some people who take meloxicam with the intent to abuse the drug because of the misunderstanding that all prescription medications will produce the desired sense of euphoria. While meloxicam will not have the desired effect when abused this way, it can cause other serious complications such as increasing your chance of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

If you or someone you know has taken meloxicam recreationally, medical assistance should be sought immediately to ensure the avoidance of any severe side effects or consequences from taking this medication.

Side Effects Of Meloxicam

All medications, even the safest over-the-counter medications, can have side effects. It’s important to know that everyone will react to medications slightly differently, which means that you might not have the same side effects as someone else who takes the same medication for the same reasons.

That said, for most approved medications, most people will have only mild side effects, and not everyone is going to have any side effects at all. But either way, it’s best to have an understanding of what side effects can be or maybe potentially abnormal or harmful. This can also help your doctor adjust your dose or change your medication depending on the side effects experienced.

Remember, if the side effects from a medication ever outweigh the problems caused by the condition it’s treating, you can talk to your doctor to see if there are alternatives. Everyone responds to medication differently, so it may be that you need a different pain medication if meloxicam isn’t the right option for you.

Some common side effects of meloxicam can include the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Changes in appetite

None of these side effects should be severe. If they are, or if they start getting worse, especially combined with any other symptoms or side effects, that may be a sign that something is wrong. You should speak with your pharmacist or prescribing doctor if you have any concerns about the side effects of meloxicam.

If side effects become severe or worsen suddenly, seek immediate emergency medical care. While serious complications from meloxicam are rare, they can be dangerous, and the sooner you get care the better.

What is Meloxicam used for?

How And When Meloxicam Is Used

Meloxicam is mostly used as a treatment for chronic conditions, especially arthritis. However, it’s also being explored as a possible treatment for post-surgical pain, especially ones that require longer term recovery periods. Meloxicam can also sometimes be used as an inflammation intervention for injuries, such as back injuries, or in cases where an old injury is aggravated and causing long-term pain with or without re-injury.

Most of the time, meloxicam is taken long-term, for at least a week or longer. Most patients are encouraged to take the medication for the entire course of the prescription, even if they don’t feel like they need it.

If you’re concerned that you may no longer need this medication, speak with your doctor and they may recommend stopping for a controlled period to see how you do without medication, or trying a different painkiller instead.

Is Meloxicam Addictive?

As we’ve already reviewed the answer to the common question of “Is meloxicam a narcotic?” we know that its likelihood of addiction is much lower than that of drugs in the opioids or narcotics class. Meloxicam isn’t traditionally addictive and shouldn’t cause the same kind of psychological dependence that narcotic medications can; this is one of the reasons that meloxicam is being explored for use in more pain situations, and why many pain control doctors will prescribe meloxicam before using opioid pain medications for pain management.

That said, some people may have similar behaviors to people with an addiction when stopping this medication. In these cases it’s usually fear of pain, rather than addiction to the painkiller, that is responsible for the behavior.

Need Help Overcoming Drug Use?

While meloxicam isn’t generally considered an addictive medication, if you feel that you are experiencing addictive symptoms with this drug or with any other drug, getting assistance as soon as possible is important.

If you or someone you love is dealing with drug abuse and addiction, we can help. Contact Absolute Awakenings to learn more about our addiction treatment programs, how we can help you, or to learn about the intake process, possible insurance coverage, and more. We’re always happy to answer your questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Meloxicam

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding meloxicam.

Like all medications, there is a slim possibility that you will be allergic to the drug, or that you may develop an allergy while using meloxicam. If you have any signs of an allergic reaction, especially swelling in your mouth or throat after taking the medication, seek medical attention immediately.

The three main risks associated with meloxicam use are the same risks associated with most NSAID medications: bleeding, liver/kidney damage, or allergies.

For some people on the drug, they may experience more bleeding than usual, which can cause problems if they are wounded, need certain kinds of medical treatments, or have certain clotting disorders.

Additionally, meloxicam can, in rare cases or when taking too much of the medication, cause liver and/or kidney damage. In some cases that damage may be life-threatening, but there are almost always symptoms and warning signs long before the damage reaches that point. It’s uncommon to have this kind of damage when taking the medication as prescribed.


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  1. Is meloxicam a narcotic? Accessed February 14, 2023.
  2. Meloxicam: Basics, Side Effects & Reviews. GoodRx. Accessed February 14, 2023.
  3. Meloxicam Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD. Accessed February 14, 2023.

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