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Health Risks of Mixing Meloxicam and Alcohol – What You Should Know

Last Updated: February 26, 2024

Reviewed by Dr. Norman Chazin

For many, socializing with friends and family or unwinding after a long week over cocktails is a common way to relax.

If you are taking some kind of medication, you may have questions about whether it is safe to drink that cocktail you are craving. Alcohol can dangerously interact with dozens of common medications, leading to consequences such as stomach bleeding, liver damage, falls, accidents, and overdoses.

Yet, approximately 40% of American adults have taken medications at a given point that could potentially interact negatively with alcohol. For safe and effective use of Meloxicam, read on to understand the interaction between Meloxicam and alcohol, considerations, and guidelines for a balanced approach to treatment.

What is Meloxicam?

Trade name: Meloxicam is commonly sold under various brand names, including Mobic, Metacam (for veterinary use), and others, depending on the manufacturer.

Generic name: Meloxicam

Meloxicam belongs to the class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which contribute to inflammation in the body.

Specifically, meloxicam inhibits the enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, reducing the synthesis of prostaglandins responsible for pain, swelling and inflammation. This mechanism of action makes Meloxicam effective in managing arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.

4 Meloxicam Uses and Clinical Applications

Meloxicam is typically prescribed to alleviate pain and inflammation associated with various musculoskeletal conditions. It is available in different forms, including oral tablets and liquid formulations.

  1. Arthritis: Meloxicam is often used to manage symptoms associated with arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It helps reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  2. Joint Disorders: This anti-inflammatory drug treats various inflammatory joint disorders, relieving pain, swelling, and stiffness.
  3. Pain Management: Meloxicam is employed to relieve pain caused by conditions such as musculoskeletal injuries, bursitis, and tendonitis. It has also been trialed for post-operative pain.
  4. Menstrual Pain: In some cases, Meloxicam may be prescribed to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhoea).

Meloxicam and Alcohol Health Risks

Combining alcohol and Meloxicam can pose severe health risks, and this combination should always be avoided. Especially since alcohol can also have adverse effects on the liver and gastrointestinal system when consumed in excess.

Gastrointestinal Effects

Both alcohol and Meloxicam can irritate the stomach lining and increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. When used together, they may exacerbate these effects, leading to a higher risk of stomach-related complications.

Liver Function

The liver is crucial in metabolizing substances, including medications and alcohol. The concurrent use of alcohol and Meloxicam can increase the workload on the liver’s metabolic pathways.

This heightened metabolic activity may contribute to liver stress and compromise its ability to function optimally. When subjected to an excessive load due to the combined effects of both substances, there is an elevated risk of liver damage.

Meloxicam and Alcohol Increases Bleeding Risk

NSAIDs, including Meloxicam, can interfere with blood clotting. When combined with alcohol, which also has blood-thinning properties, there is an increased risk of bleeding. This can be especially concerning for individuals on anticoagulant medications or those with bleeding disorders.

Kidney Function

The kidneys filter waste and excess fluids, maintain electrolyte balance, and regulate blood pressure.

Alcohol and Meloxicam can both impact kidney functions, increasing the risk of kidney damage when used together. Meloxicam affects renal blood flow and blood pressure-regulating substances. Alcohol can cause dehydration and hinder waste elimination by the kidneys. This combination poses a heightened risk of compromised kidney function.

Central Nervous System Depression

Meloxicam and alcohol depress the central nervous system (CNS), causing drowsiness and dizziness.

Meloxicam, an NSAID, and alcohol, a CNS depressant, increase the risk of additive CNS depression when combined. This may lead to heightened sedation, dizziness, and impaired coordination, posing a more pronounced effect than when each is used alone.

Mixing alcohol and Meloxicam is especially risky for:

  • Liver Conditions: Pre-existing liver conditions can compromise the liver’s ability to process and effectively eliminate substances from the body. Meloxicam, as it undergoes hepatic metabolism, and alcohol, primarily processed by liver enzymes, collectively contribute to an increased workload on the liver.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Those with a history of stomach ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding are at an increased risk.7 When alcohol and meloxicam are combined, their collective impact on the gastrointestinal tract can exacerbate existing ulcers or trigger new bleeding episodes.

Meloxicam and Alcohol Side Effects

  • Mild Effects: Nausea, headaches, indigestion, and drowsiness may occur, with an increased likelihood when alcohol and Meloxicam are combined.
  • Moderate Effects: Potential consequences include elevated stomach pain, heartburn, and an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Severe Effects: In rare cases, severe complications such as liver damage, kidney problems, and an elevated risk of cardiovascular events may manifest, particularly with prolonged or excessive combined use.

Pain Management, Alcohol Abuse, and Meloxicam Takeaways

Considering the medical evidence, managing pain in patients grappling with alcoholism (characterized by excessive and harmful drinking patterns) presents a complex clinical challenge for healthcare professionals as the combination of alcohol and Meloxicam poses significant health risks, impacting vital organs such as the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

The potential for additive effects on these systems underscores the importance of caution and seeking professional guidance when considering pain management strategies. Seeking guidance ensures a tailored approach to pain management, minimizing potential complications and optimizing health. If you or someone close to you is dealing with alcohol abuse, don’t hesitate to find your nearest AA meeting.

People Also Ask

Can I have one glass of wine on Meloxicam?

It is advisable to avoid alcohol while taking Meloxicam. Combining the two can increase the risk of stomach bleeding and other adverse effects. If you have concerns or questions, consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your medical history.

Is it OK to drink alcohol while taking anti-inflammatories?

It is recommended to avoid alcohol while taking anti-inflammatories, as it can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and other adverse effects. Always consult your healthcare provider and carefully consider your medical history and the specific anti-inflammatory medication you use.

Why can’t you drink coffee while taking Meloxicam?

Coffee itself is generally considered safe with Meloxicam. However, coffee and Meloxicam can irritate the stomach lining, potentially leading to discomfort. It’s advisable to moderate caffeine intake and consult your healthcare provider if you have concerns or experience any adverse effects.


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Retrieved on February 26, 2024.

Published on: May 14th, 2019

Updated on: February 26th, 2024

María José Petit-Rodríguez

About Author

María José Petit-Rodríguez

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Norman Chazin

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