Meloxicam and Alcohol

by on June 13, 2012

Meloxicam is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medication and as such should not be taken with alcohol due to the risk of bleeding in the stomach.

Interactions and Side Effects of Alcohol Use

Gastritis is a condition where the lining of the stomach becomes irritated. The first part of the bowel may also be similarly affected. These areas then have the potential to bleed (gastro-intestinal bleed), develop sores known as ulcers, or end up tearing (perforations). These complications may require medical treatment to allow an ulcer to heal, or surgery to repair a perforation.

These side effects are some of the most concerning problems that can develop when taking NSAIDs such as meloxicam. Gastritis is most commonly caused by NSAIDs, and also alcohol consumption. Because both of these substances can result in these digestive system problems, it is recommended that they are not taken together, especially if meloxicam is being used long-term.

The other risk factors for gastro-intestinal ulcers, bleeds and ruptures are: history of previous stomach ulcers, old age, general poor health, steroid use, long-term use of meloxicam, and steroid usage.

Are Moderate Amounts of Alcohol Safe to Drink with Meloxicam?

If you wish to consume alcohol whilst taking meloxicam, you should speak to your physician first. Because the risk of these gastro-intestinal problems varies from person to person, if you do not have many of these risk factors, your doctor may consider it safe for you to drink small amounts of alcohol occasionally. If you do consume alcohol, try to take it as many hours after the medication as possible so that the meloxicam has cleared from the stomach and gut.  In addition, drink the alcohol with food to lessen the irritating effects of it on the stomach and gut.

You should always drink within the recommended alcohol limits. These are; up to two units a day for women and up to fourteen units a week, and for men up to three units a day and up to twenty one units a week. A unit of alcohol is a small glass of wine, half a pint of beer or a measure of spirits. If you find sticking to these limits difficult, seek help from your physician.

Signs to Look for if you Consume Alcohol with Meloxicam

If you are taking meloxicam and consume alcohol, then there are a number of symptoms you should look out for that will demonstrate you may have developed  problems in the gut or stomach:

  • vomiting, particularly if it is black or brown or has blood in it, may be a sign of a stomach bleed
  • passing stools that are black and sticky may also indicate a gut bleed
  • frequent abdominal pains can indicate a stomach ulcer

If you develop any of these symptoms, you should see your physician for further investigation, and you should also see him/her if you require further advice.