Is Meloxicam Addictive?

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Many people believe that prescription drugs carry no risk of abuse or addiction. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many prescription drugs have a high dependency, abuse, and addiction risk.

Meloxicam is a prescription reliever used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic medical conditions that involve joint swelling. The FDA approved meloxicam for use in 2000, and it continues to be an effective way for patients to manage pain.

But can you get high on meloxicam? And what is the potential for meloxicam abuse and addiction? It is essential to understand the risks of the medications you’re taking and be aware of signs of substance abuse.

If you or someone you love require substance abuse treatment or want to learn more about the risk of meloxicam addiction, contact the New Jersey Addiction Interventions specialists today.

How Does Meloxicam Work?

Meloxicam is the generic name for a prescription pain reliever. It is part of a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Doctors may prescribe meloxicam instead of opioid painkillers, which have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

NSAIDs like meloxicam lower the body’s inflammatory response, which can trigger pain during an illness or injury. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs can be used for other purposes, such as reducing fevers and lowering the risk of heart attack.

Meloxicam blocks enzymes in the body that create prostaglandins, a group of lipids involved in the body’s response to an injury. They cause inflammation and blood clotting around a wound. People taking meloxicam may experience less pain and swelling throughout the body, including in the joints.

Meloxicam is in a similar class of drugs to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Meloxicam and ibuprofen are both effective at treating mild to moderate pain and reducing fever and inflammation.

The Effects and Risks of Meloxicam

Like all medications, meloxicam has side effects. Potential side effects of meloxicam may include:

  •  Constipation
  •  Diarrhea
  •  Gas
  •  Stomach pain
  •  Sore throat

Some of meloxicam’s side effects may be severe and require immediate treatment. Stomach pain, heartburn, bloody vomit, and bloody stools may be signs of an ulcer or bleeding in the GI tract. People may also experience a life-threatening allergic reaction to meloxicam.

People who take meloxicam for a long time are more likely to experience stroke, blood clots, heart attack, and liver or kidney damage.

Can You Get High on Meloxicam?

Meloxicam has some potentially dangerous effects, but it cannot produce a high or euphoria. Because taking meloxicam does not affect people’s dopamine levels and does not cause euphoria, it is highly unlikely that people would abuse it for these effects.

However, some people reportedly abuse meloxicam because it is a prescription painkiller. Some people may assume that all prescription pain relievers have similar effects to opioids. People with opioid addiction may take meloxicam because of their inaccurate beliefs about the drug’s effects.

Another risk for meloxicam abuse is in people who use it to lessen pain and inflammation that accompanies other forms of substance abuse, such as excessive alcohol consumption. People who struggle with alcohol abuse or addiction may use meloxicam to help manage hangover symptoms, preventing them from feeling the effects of their substance abuse. In this way, meloxicam abuse could enable people to continue abusing substances longer than usual.

Is it Possible to Develop Meloxicam Addiction?

Meloxicam does not lead to physical or psychological dependence. It does not share any addictive characteristics of opioids or other prescription painkillers. However, like with other addictive drugs, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of meloxicam overdose.

Some common symptoms of meloxicam overdose include:

  • Lethargy or low-energy
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloody stool
  • Vomiting
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Bloody vomit
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Meloxicam overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency. If you or someone near you is experiencing a meloxicam overdose, Call 911 and wait for EMS to arrive.

Do I Need Substance Abuse Treatment?

Meloxicam abuse could be a sign that you need substance abuse treatment. Some people with opioid addiction may abuse meloxicam because they believe it has the same properties as opioid painkillers.

Opioid addiction is a complex, life-threatening condition requiring treatment and ongoing support. The first step toward getting the help you need is recognizing that you have a problem. Some signs of substance abuse and addiction include:

  • Needing to use more of the substance to get the desired effects
  • Frequently using more of a substance than you intended to
  • Neglecting your hobbies, relationships, and responsibilities
  • Isolating or spending time only with others who use drugs and alcohol
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, and recovering from using drugs and alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop using drugs or alcohol
  • Engaging in illegal or dangerous activities while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, such as driving or having risky sex
  • Wanting to stop using drugs but finding that you can’t do it on your own

Substance abuse and addiction can derail your life, but comprehensive treatment can help you regain control and live a healthier, sober lifestyle.

Learn More About Meloxicam Abuse

If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse or are curious about meloxicam abuse, contact the knowledgeable specialists at New Jersey Addiction Interventions today. Our comprehensive, supportive substance abuse programs can help you overcome addiction and move forward into a fulfilling, healthy future.

Medically Reviewed: October 9, 2023

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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