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Is Meloxicam Addictive? The Truth About This Substance

When it comes to dealing with pain and pain management, many people are afraid to take opioids. In addition, doctors are more cautious than ever when it comes to prescribing opioids — and for good reason. The negative connotation associated with prescription opioids, along with the fact that they are highly addictive, make people think twice before accepting a prescription for pain management. 

In situations like this, it’s important to know that there are alternative solutions to pain management. One of those alternatives is a drug by the name of meloxicam. While it is a much safer alternative to opioids, some patients still have reservations when it comes to meloxicam. In this blog post, we will look at meloxicam as a pain medication drug and answer questions that people might have, including, “Is meloxicam addictive?”

What Is Meloxicam?

In the medical sense, meloxicam is considered to be a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, otherwise known as an NSAID. It is commonly prescribed to treat pain and inflammation, with it being most commonly prescribed among those suffering from arthritis. 

In adults, meloxicam is typically used to treat rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, while it has been proven to be effective in treating juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children. Meloxicam can be in tablet, liquid, and capsule form. The most common name-brand version of the drug is Mobic. 

How Does Meloxicam Work?

Medically speaking, meloxicam blocks the cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 enzymes, which lower the levels of the inflammation-causing hormone prostaglandin. More simply, taking meloxicam can help decrease inflammation and help reduce pain in the body. Since it is a prescription drug, it is considered to be much stronger than ibuprofen and, therefore, should be taken in smaller doses. The average person will typically take 5 milligrams to 7.5 milligrams per day. It is important to talk to a medical professional about proper dosing for your weight and condition. 

Is Meloxicam Addictive?

Meloxicam is not an addictive drug; however, that doesn’t mean that individuals can’t abuse this drug. Meloxicam can lead to psychological dependence and, just like any other type of drug, there are side effects associated with its use. Side effects can lead to additional health issues, as well. 

Meloxicam has a tendency to get abused much in the same way that an opioid would, since it is a painkiller. While it won’t lead to addiction or even a “high” sensation, it can still result in many of the same health-related issues when used other than directed. These issues include nausea, stomach ulcers, heart problems, abdominal pain, kidney damage, and bleeding from the stomach. It’s important to speak with your health care provider if you feel like you could be experiencing any of these issues associated with meloxicam use. 

Are There Any Other Side Effects Associated With Meloxicam?

Like any other medication on the market today, there are side effects to taking meloxicam. Common side effects include:

  • Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluid retention
  • Headaches

As with the more severe side effects, it’s important to consult with your doctor or another medical professional if you are experiencing any of these additional issues. While it might simply be a side effect of taking meloxicam, it can also be the development of a larger issue that needs to be addressed right away. Not addressing some of these more severe side effects can lead to the development of significant health problems in the future.

Is Meloxicam Considered to Be a Safer Alternative to Opioids?

One of the biggest selling points of meloxicam is that it is a safer alternative to opioids. In fact, most medical professionals prescribe meloxicam instead of opioids due to the fact that it is a much safer — and much less addictive — alternative when it comes to dealing with pain management and treating arthritis. 

The biggest difference between meloxicam and opioids is that, while meloxicam helps in blocking pain much in the same way an opioid would, it does not produce that euphoric feeling or “high” that opioids do. That is the main reason it is considered to be safer and non-addictive (since that euphoria and “high” are what people that abuse opioids are constantly chasing and what they get addicted to). 

What Are the Drawbacks of Taking Meloxicam?

Just like any other drug, there are drawbacks to using meloxicam, especially for an extended period of time. In addition to the side effects listed above, taking meloxicam has been known to result in a psychological dependency. This dependence is due to an emotional and mental “need” for the drug. 

Also, while it is not an addictive substance, there is a history of people abusing meloxicam since it’s a painkiller. While abusing meloxicam won’t lead to that high that most people are chasing when they abuse opioids and other prescription painkillers, they can still suffer from the same medical-related issues if they abuse meloxicam and take it in ways other than directed.

Are There Any Alternatives if I Don’t Feel Comfortable Taking Meloxicam or Opioids?

For one reason or another, you might not feel comfortable taking meloxicam, and that’s OK. Any type of drug use comes with risks that some may find daunting. It’s important to be open and honest with your doctor about any fears or doubts that you may have when it comes to taking the drug. If, after speaking with your doctor, you still don’t feel comfortable taking it, you might want to consider one of the following alternatives:

  • Lodine
  • Aleve
  • Tylenol
  • Cambia
  • Celebrex

Can People Abuse Meloxicam and Can I Get Treatment for It?

As we have touched on above, people still abuse meloxicam even though it is not physically addictive. This is, in large part, because it is a prescribed pain medication in the same way an opioid is. While treatment for meloxicam isn’t necessarily necessary due to the fact that you can’t become addicted to it, abusing meloxicam or taking it in ways other than directed could be a sign of a larger substance abuse issue that does need to be addressed. 

In fact, some people who abuse meloxicam already have a substance abuse problem and turn to the drug in an effort to get the same high and euphoric feeling that opioids provide. As we touched on above, there is also still the risk of growing psychologically dependent on the drug and feeling like you need it for pain management. 

What Are My Treatment Options?

For those who find themselves dependent on meloxicam or who are abusing it as part of a larger substance abuse issue, there are treatment options available. Since there is no physical addiction, treatment for meloxicam will be much more focused on the mental side. Therapies like psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychoeducation can help get to the bottom of why you grew dependent on the substance in the first place and can help reprogram your brain so you are no longer dependent.

For those whose meloxicam abuse is the sign of a larger substance abuse issue, they might be more well-suited for traditional treatment. The first step in this treatment plan is to enter into detox to rid the body of all harmful substances. Due to the nature of detox and what it does to the body, detoxing should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals at either a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment center that also provides detox services, such as Harmony Place. 

What Comes Next?

Once detox is complete, the next step is to begin treatment. This will constitute a variety of traditional therapies and treatments. At Harmony Place, we also offer holistic therapy options, such as:

  • Mindfulness
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy

What Do I Do if I Think I Have a Meloxicam Addiction?

While meloxicam isn’t addictive, individuals can still abuse it and it can still lead to a psychological dependency. It might not seem to be as bad as a physical addiction, but it can be just as dangerous due to the potential medical complications that can arise as a result of taking either too much of the drug or taking it for too long. 

At Harmony Place, 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 traditionally non-addictive substances, such as meloxicam, as well as habit-forming substances. If you or someone you know is abusing meloxicam or has developed a drug dependency, contact us today. We will get them the help that they need so they can live a happy, healthy, and sober life.