Causes & Effects of Meloxicam Abuse

Understanding Meloxicam Abuse

Learn about meloxicam abuse

Meloxicam is a prescription medication that is most commonly used to treat symptoms of arthritis. It is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, or NSAID. In the United States, meloxicam is sold under the brand names Mobic and Vivlodex.

Meloxicam is safe when used as directed by a qualified physician. It can ease inflammation, reduce swelling, and alleviate pain. However, if you abuse meloxicam, or use it in combination with certain other substances, you put yourself at risk for considerable harm.


Meloxicam abuse statistics

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) have reported the following statistics about meloxicam in the United States:

  • Meloxicam earned approval for use in the U.S. in 2000.
  • Pharmacists fill more than 9 million prescriptions for meloxicam every year.
  • About 0.4 percent of people who take meloxicam for osteoarthritis are hospitalized for gastrointestinal problems.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for meloxicam abuse

Several factors can influence your risk for abusing meloxicam or another substance. Common risk factors include the following:

  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Personal history of substance abuse or mental illness
  • Experiencing chronic pain
  • Developing arthritis
  • Impulse-control problems
  • Early exposure to substance abuse

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of meloxicam abuse

The following signs and symptoms of meloxicam abuse may indicate that you or someone you care about needs professional help:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Trying to borrow or steal meloxicam that has been prescribed to someone else
  • Visiting several doctors and trying to get multiple prescriptions for meloxicam
  • Using meloxicam when it is obviously dangerous to do so, such as when drinking alcohol
  • Trying but failing to stop using meloxicam
  • Lying to or otherwise deceiving friends and family members about meloxicam use

Physical symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash and itchiness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue

Mental symptoms:

  • Obsessive thoughts about acquiring and using meloxicam
  • Anxiety when incapable of getting meloxicam


Effects of meloxicam abuse

When you abuse meloxicam, you put yourself at risk for both immediate and long-term harm. Side effects of meloxicam abuse include the following:

  • Damage to liver, kidneys, and pancreas
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Legal problems (if you acquire meloxicam via illicit means)

Co-Occurring Disorders

Meloxicam abuse and co-occurring disorders

People who struggle with substance abuse and addiction may also have an increased risk for the following mental health disorders:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of meloxicam withdrawal and overdose

Effects of withdrawal: Ending your use of meloxicam will not trigger withdrawal symptoms. However, if you have been abusing meloxicam to self-medicate for pain, then stopping will cause that pain to return. That pain can push you back into meloxicam abuse. For this reason, if you have been abusing meloxicam for an extended period of time, you may need professional help to end this behavior in a safe and successful manner.

Effects of overdose: A person who experiences the following symptoms after abusing meloxicam may have overdosed, and needs immediate medical attention:

  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Vomiting blood
  • Problems breathing
  • Seizure

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