Addiction Recovery

Meloxicam: Uses, Addiction, Side Effects & Recovery

Is Meloxicam Addictive?

Meloxicam may or may not be addictive, but it's possible to abuse. Learn about the risks of Meloxicam abuse in our blog.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery

March 16, 2023

It may surprise you, but as per the latest global estimates, Addiction and drug abuse are rapidly becoming a major concern around the world. Every government is tackling the substance abuse problem, from first-world developed countries to developing ones.

Drug addiction has also become a global challenge because it impacts almost all ages of life. From underage kids and teenagers to older adults and the elderly population, everyone's life has been affected by it.

By the Numbers:

Around 284 million people of the world's population between the age group of 15 to 64 have used drugs once in their lifetime. 16.3 million Americans over 12 have misused precipitation medication. This includes painkillers, opioids, sedatives, stimulants, and benzodiazepines. Cumulatively, 45.8% of American adults use prescription medication monthly. 

Due to so much variation and forms of drugs, it becomes difficult to figure out which prescription medications are addictive and which have the potential to be abused. In today's article, we will be talking about one such prescription medication that may or may not have the potential to be highly addictive, Meloxicam.

Meloxicam is one of the most commonly used generic medications for treating inflammatory conditions. It is an NSAID or Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug that ranks at the 28th position of being the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States of America.

Despite being a generic medication, there have been instances where people have misused and abused Meloxicam as an alternative to harder drugs. It is an uncommon medication to get addicted to, but due to the lack of addictive opioids, many people abuse them instead. So, even though it is unusual to get addicted, meloxicam abuse potential is still there. Hence, this article will discuss what Meloxicam is used for, the addiction possibility, its side effects, recovery, and more. Read ahead!

What Is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam is a prescription anti-inflammatory medication sold under the brand name Mobic. Many people consider Meloxicam a safer option than opioid drugs because they have a highly addictive nature. It is often used by those who are experiencing pain that can range from mild to severe. It was first patented in 1977 but finally got approval decades later. Ultimately, it was introduced in the United States market in 2000. After being developed by Boehringer Ingelheim, it is now a generic medication.

If we look at the statistics, in 2017, around 19,793,507 prescriptions were issued for this drug. Meloxicam is also a frequently prescribed medication for soldiers on active duty. The numbers here have seen quite a jump from 2006 to 2014. Around 48,928 Meloxicam prescriptions were issued for active soldiers on duty, whereas now the statistics jumped to 91,048. Meloxicam is a medication that helps treat conditions like swelling, pain, inflammation, tenderness, and more. It is also sometimes used in treating and managing arthritis. 

Meloxicam works by treating the problems caused by prostaglandins. These are the chemical compounds that lead to joint inflammation in our bones. This inflammation later becomes pain, swelling and tenderness, and other arthritis symptoms. Hence, after consuming Meloxicam, the medicine blocks those enzymes that produce prostaglandins. As a result, the drug reduces the level of those painful chemical compounds, resulting in less inflammation and pain. This is why Meloxicam is given to patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and more. It is available in tablet, capsule, and liquid form and can be administered orally.

The average Meloxicam dosage is 5-7.5 mg once a day or whatever is prescribed to you by medical professionals. Even though it is among the most prescribed medications in the United States, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still discourages it. They have repeatedly warned medical practitioners from prescribing both branded and generic variants of Meloxicam because there are a lot of risks involved with it.

Why? This is because it creates a psychological dependence among the users. This is especially the case with those patients who have shown a history of abusing drugs or have an account of psychologically depending on psychoactive medications. So, even when Meloxicam is different from opioid painkillers, it still has the potential for misuse and abuse. Many people try to combine the medication with drugs and alcohol, and there can be severe consequences of combining Meloxicam with other substances. 

Is Meloxicam A Narcotic Drug?

First of all, Meloxicam is not a narcotic drug. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is generally sold in the United States under Mobic and Vivlodex. In Canada, it is sold under Mobicox. There are various versions of this drug: Orocam, Metacam, Loxicom, and Meloxidyl.

Meloxicam is a non-narcotic medication that does not induce euphoria or produce other drug-like effects. As it is a pain-relieving medication, many people mistake it for opioid painkillers. But this does not mean the users cannot misuse or abuse Meloxicam.

NSAIDs are used to reduce the pain and inflammation caused by fevers. In fact, it can reduce the risk of a heart attack. You will note that NSAIDs decrease the body's inflammatory response, which produces pain, injury, or any form of illness. Similarly, Meloxicam is an NSAID that works by inhibiting the enzymes that produce inflammation in our body. These enzymes are responsible for creating the group of lipids known as prostaglandins. 

NSAIDs and Meloxicam, in particular, are not traditionally addictive as they cannot generate euphoric effects. Those who are suffering from chronic pain have the possibility of abusing Meloxicam. If the pain is not well-managed by the doctors, it can lead to overusing the medication. Apart from them, some people try to use Meloxicam recreationally. They believe that since it's a pain-relieving medication, Meloxicam can produce similar effects that can be experienced after abusing drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

In addition, there is a high possibility that Meloxicam can create a feeling of dependency if taken continuously over a long period. Meloxicam abuse can occur if a patient tries to consume more than what is prescribed and for a longer duration than what is recommended by the doctors. The patient may get used to less pain and become dependent.

It is vital to remember that addiction affects a human's physical and mental aspects. So, dependence can be developed in both aspects but isn't as severe as opioid abuse. Overdose is another problem that can happen while abusing the Meloxicam drug. It can damage kidneys and result in internal bleeding and other gastrointestinal issues.

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Common Meloxicam Side Effects

Even when addiction to the Meloxicam drug is uncommon, there is a high risk of overdose. This is why there have been a few cases of Meloxicam abuse too. The opioid addiction crisis has been so chronic for several years that people have started thinking about all the painkillers being synonymous with drug abuse and addiction. This has led to the massive spread of misinformation regarding this drug. Due to this, Meloxicam has also been black-marketed illegally.

Recently, as per the reports by the Department of Justice, as many as 20 Meloxicam pills have been seized from the streets of New England. This may look surprisingly less when compared to other illicit drugs being sold for millions and billions in the black market. However, it clearly indicates the extent of prescription painkillers abuse and addiction. Like with any prescription drug, Meloxicam too has various side effects. If a person consumes a higher dose of the drug than what is required of them, there is a possibility that a patient with heart and gastrointestinal conditions may experience severe health issues.

Also, many people may be unaware of their allergy to NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. As a result, they can have adverse reactions to the drug, such as shortness of breath. Others may experience elevated blood pressure or hypertension due to taking Meloxicam. Doctors have also warned those patients at risk of heart failure from using the drug. 

Some common side effects of misusing Meloxicam:

  • Short-term side effects: These include upset stomach, dizziness, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty urinating, stomach or back pain, general lack of energy, elevated heart rate, flu-like condition, etc. Some patients have also experienced an allergic reaction to Meloxicam. For instance, people dealing with asthma can have an allergic reaction to all NSAIDs. Others have had skin reactions to this medication, such as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and even Exfoliative Dermatitis. 

  • Long-term side effects: These include internal bleeding, ulcers, hypertension, edema or swelling, strokes, kidney damage, insomnia, liver damage, and more. 

  • Meloxicam Overdose: Although overdosing on Meloxicam is uncommon, there have still been a few cases. The overdose symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, bleeding stool, nausea, drowsiness, stomach pain, bloody vomit, difficulty breathing, seizure, and even coma. If you experience any of such symptoms, the best possible action is to contact the nearest hospital and get proper treatment for the overdose. 

Meloxicam Abuse Treatment & Recovery

If left untreated, addiction is a brain dysfunction that can lead to several physical and psychological health issues. Some people think about self-medicating this affliction but are unaware of the debilitating consequences. As mentioned in the article, Meloxicam is not a narcotic drug that one can get addicted to. But it can be abused and can even have withdrawal symptoms. Any medication, even over-the-counter ones, can have severe withdrawal effects if the medication is stopped abruptly.

So, to take care of all the side effects and fallouts associated with this medication, the best way is to approach a drug rehab facility. A drug rehab facility helps patients through the drug detox process. Most probably, in this case, related to Meloxicam abuse, this procedure alone would be enough. Drug detox is a medical procedure in which the user's body gets cleaned of the toxic substance(s). The rehab also manages the withdrawal effects of the drug once the patients are weaned off it. This is handled with the help of controlled medications.  

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Dealing With Meloxicam Addiction? Reach Out to The Edge Treatment Center Today

The most vital thing while exploring a good rehab center is personalized treatment. If a drug rehab center provides individualized care, they will consider a medical history and other health conditions rather than providing basic treatment.

The Edge Treatment Center offers highly personalized effective drug treatment programs. With us, you'll understand the roots of your addiction while learning how to live a life free from substance abuse. Our outpatient drug rehab aims to give you everything you need to create a life without Meloxicam abuse.

Learn more about our evidence-based treatment plans. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.