Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and fever-reducing properties. The drug is a derivative of oxicam and thus falls into the enolic acid group of NSAIDs. Meloxicam works by blocking the effect of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. COX enzymes are associated with the production of prostaglandins at the injury site, which cause both pain and inflammation. Blocking COX enzymes decreases prostaglandin production, thereby lowering pain and inflammation. The drug typically blocks COX-2 enzymes but blocks COX-1 enzymes at high dosages.1 Meloxicam is used to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as juvenile arthritis in patients over two years of age.
For more information, including a MSDS sheet, please see PNA’sMeloxicam page.
Osteoarthritis: Meloxicam is used to treat pain, stiffness, and tenderness in patients suffering from osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis caused by a breakdown of lining in the joint. Joints that are typically affected include those in the knee, ankle, foot, elbow, wrist, and hand. Meloxicam is much better tolerated than other treatments that cause ulcers and bleeding in the stomach.3
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Meloxicam is also used to manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in the hands and feet.
Juvenile Arthritis: Meloxicam is also indicated to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, in which the lining of the child’s joints breaks down.
Side Effects and Drug Interactions
Common side effects in patients taking meloxicam include:
Nausea or upset stomach
Bloating or gas
Dizziness or anxiety
Runny or stuffy nose,
Mild skin rash
Patients who suffer from severity of these common side effects should contact their pharmacist or physician right away. Patients who experience a severe allergic reaction (including hives, trouble breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance, black or tarry stools, bloody cough or vomit, changes in urination, stomach pain, dark urine or pale stool, nausea or weight gain, bruising, tingling/numbness, or blisters should inform their physician immediately.
Patients who are allergic to meloxicam should not take this drug. Meloxicam should not be used in conjunction with sodium polystyrene sulfonate, apixaban, elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir df, ketorolac, methotrexate, pemetrexed, or tacrolimus.4
Latest News and Research
Research over the last fifteen years has shown that COX-2 inhibitors, like meloxicam, show antiproliferation activity against different types of cancer. In the late 1990s, meloxicam was first identified as a possible agent for treating cancers such as non-small-cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Fifteen years later, osteosarcoma was added to the list of cancers that may be treatable by meloxicam.5 More recently, the drug shows promising activity as an adjunct treatment to chemotherapy for combating prostate cancer.6 Studies into whether meloxicam should be part of a chemotherapy regimen for other cancers, such as breast tumors and bladder cancer, are ongoing.
A new phase II study of the use of meloxicam in patients undergoing Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor shows that the drug may aid in increasing engraftment rate and reducing toxicity and hospital stay in patients undergoing stem cell treatment. The treatment, if successful, offers promise for patients with lymphoma or who are suffering from acute myeloid leukemia.7
“Managing Osteoarthritis Pain With Medicines: A Review of the Research for Adults,” February 15, 2012, http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?productid=950&pageaction=displayproduct ↩
“Meloxicam inhibits osteosarcoma growth, invasiveness and metastasis by COX-2-dependent and independent routes,” September 30, 2005, http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/3/584.short ↩
“Effective antiproliferative effect of meloxicam on prostate cancer cells: development of a new controlled release system,” March 15, 2010, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19963049 ↩
“The Addition of Meloxicam to G-CSF Is Associated with Good Mobilization Rates, Faster Engraftment and Reduced Toxicity and Hospital Stay after Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation–a Phase II Study,” February 2015, http://www.bbmt.org/article/S1083-8791(14)00895-7/abstract ↩