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People are always looking for an alternative to opioid painkillers, and some have found it in the form of therapy, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, etc. As for medications, however, there may be an option for pain treatment in the form of a prescription NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) drug called Meloxicam, although it is still important to know the facts about this drug before you begin taking it.

Meloxicam: What Is It?

Meloxicam is a pain-relieving drug that is often used to treat forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. According to the National Library of Medicine, this medication is part of the NSAID drug family. Though many other NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are over-the-counter medications you can buy at any drug store, Meloxicam is stronger than these drugs and, as such, is only available by prescription.

In some circles, people are finding out that Meloxicam could be a safer alternative to opioid painkillers, specifically because the former medication is not addictive. If you have a chronic pain issue, have had surgery, or have another problem for which you require painkillers, you might want to ask your doctor about Meloxicam as an alternative to opioids.

Side Effects of Meloxicam

Stomach Pain

Like every drug on the market, Meloxicam can cause certain side effects. It is important to be aware of these before you start taking Meloxicam for any length of time. The most common side effects associated with Meloxicam, according to the NLM, are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Sore throat


All of these side effects are common and usually mild. In most cases, they will disappear in a few days or, at the very least, in a week or so. If you notice that they do not disappear, it is important to discuss the issue with your doctor.

There are other side effects associated with Meloxicam that can be serious. For one, you might be allergic to the drug. If you are, you will notice symptoms like swelling of the tongue, mouth, lips, throat, face, or eyes, rash, blisters, peeling, hives, or itching. If you realize you have trouble swallowing or breathing, call 911.

Other serious side effects of Meloxicam that require immediate attention include:

  • Fever
  • Pallor
  • Weight gain with no explanation
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, feet, or stomach,
  • Nausea
  • Fast heartrate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or excessive exhaustion
  • Experiencing pain in the stomach, especially the upper right part
  • Urine that is cloudy, the wrong color, or has blood in it
  • Back pain
  • Painful urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Flu-like symptoms


Meloxicam can cause problems for the kidneys and stomach as well as ulcers, bleeding, and holes in the intestines. Those who already have kidney problems should probably refrain from taking Meloxicam. It can also cause a higher risk of heart attack and increase blood pressure to the point of hypertension. Meloxicam can also cause an overdose if taken in higher amounts than prescribed (US Food and Drug Administration). Whatever you do, make sure you understand the risks inherent with Meloxicam before you begin taking it.

Is Meloxicam Addictive?

According to WebMD, Meloxicam, and its common brand names Mobic and Vivoldex, are most often used to treat forms of arthritis, although many patients and doctors are looking toward it as a nonaddictive alternative to opioids. Fortunately, Meloxicam is not habit-forming like opioid painkillers are. It does not change the way the brain chemistry works in order to create compulsive abuse.

However, sometimes, Meloxicam is still abused. Some people take too much of the drug precisely because they think it is not addictive, which can lead to other problems. People misuse the drug for many reasons, and, in this regard, taking meloxicam does not completely rule out the issue of abuse.

Is Meloxicam Safer Than Opioids?

Many people are trying to find an alternative to opioid drugs, which have caused so much of the addiction, death, and ancillary health problems in the US today. Meloxicam might be a helpful alternative, but it is still important to remember the truth about both drugs by comparing Meloxicam to opioids.

  • Opioids and Meloxicam both have their fair share of physical risks. Both can affect different bodily functions and organs in a dangerous manner, and even when taken as prescribed, certain side effects, like constipation, can appear, creating discomfort.
  • People who already have heart problems, stomach problems, or kidney problems may want to avoid taking meloxicam, which can cause issues like these to worsen. However, opioids, when taken over a long period of time, can change the way the brain works, making users tolerant-to and dependent-on the drugs themselves (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
  • Meloxicam is not addictive in the way opioids are, yet it can still be abused like opioids can be. Sometimes people abuse meloxicam thinking it has opioids in it or simply because they enjoy the feeling of lessened inflammation and pain. This does not take away from the fact that opioids are far more addictive when it comes to creating compulsive use.


The answer to this question is, depending on your situation, is that Meloxicam might be a safer alternative for you than opioids. If you want to avoid opioid use because of the addictive nature of the drug and are otherwise healthy, Meloxicam might be a beneficial option. But if you are not in good health, have kidney, stomach, or heart problems, or will be taking Meloxicam for a prolonged period of time, it might not be the safest option for your pain treatment.

Treating Meloxicam Abuse


Though Meloxicam is not considered an addictive drug, some may still require treatment after abusing it. This is often heavily associated with the treatment of health conditions caused by the drug’s misuse, but it may also require treatment for multiple substance use disorders. In many cases, those who abuse Meloxicam are often struggling with other drug abuse problems as well.

If you believe your Meloxicam abuse has gotten out of control, call 1-855-815-9727 to speak with a treatment advisor now. We are available 24/7 to take your call and to help you reshape your life into one with less pain, zero substance abuse, and a healthy, happy outlook that will allow you to make your future your own.