Drug and Alcohol

Meloxicam and Alcohol: Is It Safe to Mix Meloxicam and Alcohol?

What Happens When You Mix Meloxicam And Alcohol?

Mixing meloxicam and alcohol can be dangerous. Our blog takes you through the reasons why and more. Alcohol addiction is treatable.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

October 16, 2023

Many people combine cocktails, drugs, and other substances. There are different reasons for this.

For some, combining substances can amplify their effects, like crossfading with alcohol and cannabis. For others, it may be unintentional – someone struggling with alcoholism may take other medications with alcohol simply because alcohol is always in their system.

This act of deliberately or unintentionally mixing two or more substances is known as polysubstance use. One potentially dangerous combination is mixing the anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam with alcohol.

Meloxicam and Alcohol: What Is Polysubstance Abuse?

Polysubstance abuse involves combining different drugs, prescription medication, and, most often, alcohol. The deliberate users generally take multiple intoxicating substances either simultaneously or within a short duration from each other.

The purpose of intentionally mixing different substances is generally to enhance the effect of getting high. As we’ve said, however, sometimes this is unintentional…but it doesn’t make the practice any less dangerous. A lot of street drugs are often contaminated with fentanyl.

According to various research and studies, polysubstance abuse is uncommon. It appears more often than one might think. A study mentioned that most opioid users combine opioid and non-opioid substances together. These non-opioid substances may include tobacco, cannabis, heroin, and alcohol.

Alcohol is one thing that is often combined with various medications and opioids. Some famous combinations include alcohol with high-caffeine energy drinks, alcohol with the ADHD medication Adderall, alcohol with opioids (which is insanely risky), and more.

Meloxicam and Alcohol: What Is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) sold under brand names like Vivlodex, Comfort Pac-Meloxicam, and Mobic. It is a prescription anti-inflammatory medication used to treat inflammation and pain caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatism, or rheumatic diseases.

It was patented in 1977 and made its way to the American market only after several years of waiting in 2000. Even though it is sold under the brand name Mobic, meloxicam is also available in the generic version. It was first developed by Boehringer Ingelheim and has become the 28th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States of America.  

Meloxicam is often a drug of abuse, although it’s not a narcotic. Meloxicam is neither a narcotic drug nor it is a controlled substance. The users do require a prescription from a qualified doctor or medical professional. It is often misused by people because it fuels their substance use disorder as it blocks pain and inflammation. 

Some believe that since it's not as dangerous as opioid painkillers, it's safer to abuse. They are unaware that higher meloxicam dosage can harm them physically.

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Meloxicam and Alcohol: What Is Meloxicam Used For?

It is a medication that differs slightly from other NSAID drugs like naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. This is because its mode of action differs from the others. It is less harmful to the stomach and kidney of the user because it is a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor. When it is mentioned that it is an anti-inflammatory medication, it works by blocking and reducing pain. Inflammation can be understood as the pain an individual feels in their muscles, bones, joints, swelling, and red and hot skin.

Meloxicam and Alcohol: Is Meloxicam a Narcotic?

Meloxicam has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for arthritis, osteoarthritis, juvenile rheumatoid, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some medical professionals also use this medication for off-label uses like pain after surgeries and painful musculoskeletal systems like sprained wrist or lower back pain.

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Meloxicam and Alcohol: Is Meloxicam an Opioid?

No. Meloxicam is what pharmacists call a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID). Even though people tend to confuse them with opioids, they do not work by affecting dopamine release in our brains. 

Anti-inflammatory drugs like meloxicam work by blocking the effect produced by natural chemicals known as cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. The enzymes are responsible for making chemicals called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins occur in those areas of our body where we are injured or damaged, leading to inflammatory and painful feelings.

So, meloxicam functions by blocking COX enzymes and lowering the produced prostaglandins. This results in the reduction of inflammation and pain. 

Meloxicam and Alcohol: What Is Drug Abuse?

Meloxicam does not make the user high. However, this does not mean it can't be abused.

Drug abuse is a term that describes behaviors, not drugs. Intentionally taking medication in larger amounts than was prescribed, using someone else’s prescription, mixing prescription drugs with other drugs, and more are all forms of drug abuse.

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Meloxicam and Alcohol: Side Effects of Meloxicam

Consuming meloxicam at higher doses can lead to several side effects and health complications. These side effects can be mild to severe. 

Common Meloxicam Side Effects

Common side effects of using meloxicam are diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, ingestion, headache, itching, dizziness, loss of hair, dry mouth, hot flashes, tiredness, change in appetite, taste, and vision, experiencing unnatural dreams, anxiety, hopelessness, irritability, and general depression. 

Severe Meloxicam Side Effects

Severe side effects can include heart attack-like symptoms, stroke, stomach and intestinal issues, increased blood pressure, liver damage, skin issues, water retention, kidney problems, blurry vision, and hives.

What Is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a chemical compound that is commonly consumed as a recreational beverage. It is found in various forms such as beer, wine, and spirits. The active ingredient in alcohol is ethyl alcohol or ethanol, which is produced through the fermentation of sugars by yeast. Alcohol has been used for thousands of years and is deeply ingrained in many cultures around the world.

Alcohol is also addictive and can be fatal in high doses. It also has multiple harmful side effects with many other drugs. One of these drugs is meloxicam, which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to treat pain and inflammation.

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Mixing Meloxicam & Alcohol: Is It Safe?

No, it is not at all safe to mix meloxicam and alcohol. No medication should be taken with alcohol. This is especially the case with meloxicam, as it's an NSAID. Mixing meloxicam and alcohol leads to seriously damaging problems like gastrointestinal tract bleeding.

People who mix alcohol with meloxicam believe that since it's not an opioid, one can drink alcohol with it regularly. They are unaware that meloxicam and alcohol interaction can result in adverse health complications. They can lead to obvious GI issues along with strokes or heart attacks. 

It is recommended that people should eat food before taking NSAID medication. This is because ingesting the food allows the stomach to be lined up, reducing the chances of severe GI issues. This makes it clear that meloxicam usage can lead to such issues. When an individual drinks alcohol and meloxicam together, they put themselves at risk of getting upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Meloxicam and alcohol put a lot of stress on the stomach lining, resulting in ulcers, gastritis, and eventual GI bleeding.

Another dangerous side of using meloxicam can be seen in older adults.

Mixing Meloxicam & Alcohol: Dangers for Older Adults

Since meloxicam is a prescription medication for treating various conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, older adults are most likely to use it. Older adults who indulge in mixing meloxicam and alcohol can feel more intensified and life-threatening side effects.

Here’s why: older adults have a slow metabolism and must make extra efforts to process a substance like alcohol. This doubles the side effects in seniors as compared to younger adults. Let's learn more about their side effects. However, it is totally safe when doctors' directions are correctly followed.

Meloxicam and Alcohol: Side Effects

There are several dangerous side effects of drinking alcohol over meloxicam. These side effects include bleeding, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, gout, gastritis, coughing up blood, dizziness, high blood pressure, diarrhea, slurred speech, weight gain, loss of appetite, fluid retention, and difficulty in breathing, skin rashes, and hives. The severe risks of combining these substances can include:

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding

  • Liver damage

  • Heart failure (heart attack or stroke)

  • Ulcers

  • Kidney damage

  • Overdose

Meloxicam and Alcohol Overdose 

Overdose will occur when an individual drinks copious amounts of alcohol and mixes them with the NSAID medication meloxicam. Such individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing an overdose. Like some medications, meloxicam is prescribed to anyone after evaluating their weight. This is because when a person loses significant weight and still takes the same amount of meloxicam, they can overdose.

A few overdose symptoms of meloxicam are:

  • Trouble breathing or increased heart rate

  • Severe decrease in energy

  • Pain in the throat or chest

  • Blue coloration in the skin, lips, or fingernails

  • Seizure 

  • Coma

Meloxicam overdose is a serious issue; anyone experiencing the abovementioned symptoms should immediately call for medical attention. Call 911 emergency medical services or go to the nearest emergency room for treatment. 

Mixing Meloxicam & Alcohol: Treatment for Meloxicam & Alcohol Abuse

It is vital to be careful when stopping a substance like meloxicam. This is because it can have two-pronged side effects. First of all, like any habit-forming substance that has the potential to bring abuse, abrupt stoppage can cause the user to undergo withdrawal symptoms.

Secondly, most users of meloxicam are those who require relief from pain. So, when they go cold turkey, the pain will likely return. All the meloxicam users who think they might be abusing the drug and becoming psychologically dependent on it, be easy on yourself. You cannot rush the process, and it's not recommended to experiment with treatment on yourself. 

There are multiple approaches to meloxicam addiction treatment, and most of them depend on the patient's individual condition. The length of the treatment is especially dependent on the addiction condition of the patient.

Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient treatment is recommended for those patients who have intense addiction symptoms. They need to be supervised by the rehab team as they have a greater risk to relapse.

Outpatient Drug Rehab

Outpatient treatment is another option where, unlike inpatient rehabs, the patients are not supposed to stay at the drug rehab. They are not at a greater risk of relapse and can stay by themselves. Yes, they would have to visit the rehab to receive proper treatment. 

Mixing Meloxicam & Alcohol: Treating Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol dependency is an equally, if not more, harrowing condition that millions struggle with. Alcoholism can be very complex to treat, and for long-term cases, alcohol withdrawal all but requires professional medical help.

Drug rehabs like The Edge have substantial experience in treating alcoholism. The process starts with alcohol detox and is then followed up by comprehensive care. As isolating as alcohol abuse can feel, it’s a disease that responds well to treatment.

Mixing Meloxicam & Alcohol Is a Sign of a Major Problem. The Edge Treatment Center Will Help

Combining meloxicam with alcohol is not recommended as it can lead to potentially dangerous side effects. Both substances have a sedative effect on the central nervous system, which can increase the risk of respiratory depression and other complications. Additionally, both alcohol and meloxicam can cause stomach irritation and bleeding, making the combination even more harmful.

If you are struggling with addiction to alcohol or any other substance, seeking professional help from The Edge Treatment Center will greatly improve your chances of recovery. Our experienced and compassionate staff will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses not only the physical aspects of addiction but also the underlying psychological and emotional factors.

Want to learn more about our evidence-based care for alcohol abuse and drug abuse? Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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