Due to the negative connotation associated with opioids, and the fact that they can be highly addictive, many people are apprehensive about taking them for pain management. While an opioid might be the best course of action and may even be recommended by one’s doctor, a person might not feel comfortable taking it for one reason or another.
One of the alternatives out there when it comes to pain management is a drug by the name of meloxicam. While people consider meloxicam a safer alternative to opioids, some people still fear that they can develop an addiction to it. In this blog, we will take a deeper look at the effects of meloxicam abuse. We’ll also answer the questions, is meloxicam addictive and what is meloxicam.
What is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that people commonly use to treat pain and inflammation, such as arthritis. Adults predominantly use meloxicam to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Children mostly use meloxicam to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The most popular brand name of meloxicam is Mobic. It is also the active ingredient in Vivlodex and the meloxicam comfort pac. People can find meloxicam in a tablet, capsule, or liquid form.
How Does Meloxicam Work?
When a person takes meloxicam, it blocks the cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 enzymes which lower the levels of the inflammation-causing hormone known as prostaglandin. This is what leads to a decrease in inflammation and the pain associated with it.
Since meloxicam is much stronger than your average over-the-counter ibuprofen, it is taken in much smaller doses, typically 5 to 7.5 mg per day. Because of the strength of meloxicam, meloxicam abuse can be dangerous despite the fact that it isn’t addictive in the way that opioids are.
What Are Some of the Side Effects Associated With Meloxicam?
While meloxicam is much less addictive than its opioid counterparts, it is still a drug. Therefore there are still side effects associated with taking it. Some of the most common side-effects associated with taking meloxicam include:
- Upset stomach
- Flu-like symptoms
- Blurred vision
- Increased blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid retention
If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to consult with your doctor or a medical professional right away. While such symptoms might simply just be side effects of taking meloxicam, they can also be occurring due to larger issues that need to be addressed.
Additionally, not addressing any of the side effects mentioned above after taking meloxicam can lead to much more significant health problems down the line. This is just another reason why meloxicam abuse can be dangerous, despite the fact that doctors often prefer prescribing it to patients over opioids.
Is Meloxicam Considered Safer Than Opioids?
A major reason that both doctors and patients prefer to prescribe meloxicam over an opioid is that Meloxicam is much safer and much less addictive. In fact, most medical professionals, prescribe meloxicam to individuals suffering from pain as a much safer alternative to the highly addictive opioid. This is in large part due to the fact that while meloxicam helps block pain much in the same way an opioid would, it doesn’t produce the euphoric feelings that opioids do. This is one of the main reasons that people get addicted to opioids in the first place.
While meloxicam is considered to be a safer alternative to opioids, it does come with its drawbacks. In addition to the potential side effects listed above, people can grow a psychological dependency to meloxicam.
In addition, while it is not an addictive substance, meloxicam abuse tends to occur in the same way opioid abuse would since meloxicam is technically a painkiller. However, since meloxicam doesn’t produce any euphoric feelings, people who commit meloxicam abuse won’t necessarily suffer from addiction. They will suffer from health complications as a result of the side-effects of meloxicam and taking a higher dose of meloxicam than directed.
Are There Any Alternatives to Meloxicam?
While meloxicam is much safer to take than an opioid, there are still some people who can’t take it due to various health-related issues or due to some of the side effects associated with the drug. That’s why it’s always important before taking anything to consult with your doctor or medical professional.
For those who are not able to or are not comfortable taking meloxicam, any medication that is considered a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, whether prescription or over-the-counter, should be able to help. Below are some of the alternatives to meloxicam:
Tylenol is one of the most popular over-the-counter pain and fever reducers on the market. While it works well in minimizing pain, it doesn’t help with swelling or inflammation. Compared to meloxicam, Tylenol is significantly easier on the stomach.
Another very common over-the-counter pain medication is Aleve. Unlike its counterpart in Tylenol, Aleve can help with inflammation in addition to pain.
Celebrex is a popular arthritis medication. Using Celebrex can lead to fewer stomach problems and a lower risk of heart failure than other NSAID medications such as meloxicam. Still, people who suffer from any sort of heart condition shouldn’t use meloxicam.
Cambia works well when it comes to treating muscle aches and pains that are caused by inflammation. Similar to meloxicam, the negative side-effects associated with Cambia can be difficult for some people. Thus, it should only be taken as a short-term solution.
Lodine is another medication designed to relieve pain from arthritis, as well as help, treat other conditions. Lodine is known to have severe side effects such as heart attacks and strokes. Those who have taken Lodine have reported that it can take as long as 2 weeks after starting to take it before they began to see any results.
In addition to these medications, there are also natural alternatives to meloxicam, especially when it comes to dealing with arthritis. Some natural alternatives include:
A Better Diet
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, sulfur, collagen, and antioxidants can help relieve some of the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. These types of foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, onions, garlic, bone broth, certain types of fish, and walnuts.
Utilizing Oils and Herbal Supplements
Certain herbal supplements such as turmeric and ginger have been shown to help reduce inflammation in people suffering from arthritis. These herbal supplements aren’t FDA approved though. Additionally, the Boswellia essential oil has been shown to reduce arthritis pain.
See a Chiropractor
Getting adjustments from a chiropractor may also help relieve people of pain, especially in those who are suffering from osteoarthritis.
Can I Get Addicted to Meloxicam?
While the short answer is no, meloxicam abuse can lead to psychological dependence as well as the side effects listed above. In addition, people might have the tendency to commit meloxicam abuse. This is because meloxicam is prescribed as a painkiller much in the same way that an opioid is. Thus, many people will mistake meloxicam as an opioid and use and abuse it accordingly.
While meloxicam abuse won’t lead to addiction directly, it can cause significant health-related issues including stomach ulcers, abdominal pain, nausea, heart problems, kidney damage, and bleeding from the stomach.
Is There Treatment Available For Meloxicam Abuse?
While meloxicam isn’t an addictive substance, someone who commits meloxicam abuse might have a larger problem. People who commit meloxicam abuse might be suffering from opioid addiction or another substance abuse problem. Thus, people have turned to meloxicam abuse not realizing that it doesn’t produce any of the euphoric effects that opioids do.
People may also commit meloxicam abuse as a result of a psychological dependency. Regardless of the reason why a person commits meloxicam abuse, it’s important that such people get help right away.
People committing meloxicam abuse might suffer from any of the physical ailments associated with addiction. Luckily, though, they can also benefit from the mental side of treatment. Examples of the mental side of treatment include behavioral therapy, group and individual therapy sessions, peer support, and even life skills training. After all, there is a reason that the meloxicam abuse and dependency began. Thus, it’s important to identify these reasons so that meloxicam abuse doesn’t happen again in the future.
Is Meloxicam Addictive?
Technically no, meloxicam is not addictive. Despite meloxicam not being addictive, meloxicam abuse can still lead to psychological dependency. This is because meloxicam can be just as dangerous as an addiction due to the potential medical complications that can arise as a result of taking either too much meloxicam or taking meloxicam for too long.
Here at Phoenix Rising Recovery, we know that just because a substance isn’t addictive doesn’t mean that it’s not dangerous. That’s why we offer treatment for both traditionally addictive substances and traditionally non-addictive substances such as meloxicam.
If you or someone you know is committing meloxicam abuse or has developed a dangerous dependency on the drug, contact us today. We will get you the help that you need to live a happy and healthy life.