How long to wait to drink alcohol after taking meloxicam?

By The Recovery Village Editor Camille Renzoni Reviewer Jessica Pyhtila Updated on11/08/19

If you have chronic pain, you may be prescribed a pain medication called Mobic. This drug works very well against some types of pain, making it easier for you to take part in your daily activities. Unfortunately, if your normal activities include drinking alcohol, you may be putting yourself at risk. Combining Mobic and alcohol can harm your health.

Mixing Alcohol and Mobic

Mobic is one of several brand names for the drug meloxicam. The drug is also sold under other brand names of Vivlodex and Qmiiz. Mobic belongs to a class of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Mobic is a very strong NSAID and is only available with a prescription.

Mobic treats pain related to:

  • Different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Gout flares
  • Other pain conditions

Mixing alcohol and Mobic can be dangerous, as it can increase your risk of several complications, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Gastritis
  • Gout
  • Heart attack and stroke

Bleeding Risk

Doctors advise not to drink alcohol while taking Mobic because, like other NSAIDs, Mobic can increase bleeding risk. Although doctors do not know how NSAIDs increase bleeding risk, many different studies have found that internal bleeding can occur. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put a black box warning on prescription NSAIDs like Mobic because it can cause bleeding.

The warning is for increased risk of:

  • Bleeding
  • Ulcers
  • Holes in your stomach or intestine

Alcohol use and abuse can also increase bleeding risk. The more you drink, and the longer you drink, the more you are at risk of bleeding from drinking. Drinking harms your body’s ability to make a type of blood cell called platelets. Platelets help your blood clot when you are bleeding. However, if you struggle with alcohol use, your body often has trouble making platelets.

In some cases, your body may make platelets that are abnormal and do not work as well as they should. This condition can be harmful, because if your platelets cannot stop bleeding, then you may continue to bleed internally. Sometimes you may not even know that you are bleeding, especially if the bleeding is on the inside of your body.

Because both alcohol and Mobic can each increase bleeding risk, using them together can be dangerous. Doctors think that if you use alcohol and Mobic together, your risk of bleeding may be even higher.

Gastritis Risk

Both alcohol and Mobic increase your risk of gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach. Therefore, using alcohol and Mobic together can make your risk of gastritis even higher.

Gastritis can cause health problems like:

  • Ulcers
  • Permanent stomach damage
  • Low blood iron, which means your blood cells cannot transport oxygen as well as they should
  • Low vitamin B12, which can cause mental changes and irreversible nerve damage
  • Stomach cancer

Gout Risk

If you are taking Mobic for gout flares, it is crucial to remember that drinking can cause a gout flare. Therefore, it is doubly important to avoid alcohol if the reason you are taking Mobic is gout.

If you are drinking alcohol while using Mobic for a gout flare, it is also important to look out for gout symptoms like:

  • Severe pain in a single joint (often your big toe)
  • Swelling in a single joint
  • Redness in a single joint
  • Feeling like a single joint is hot when you touch it

Heart Attack and Stroke

The FDA has a black box warning on NSAIDs like Mobic for increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Watch for symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Left arm or shoulder pain
  • Exhaustion (in women)
  • Nausea (in women)
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Suddenly slurred speech

Excessive use of alcohol can also lead to problems with the heart, including cardiomyopathy, which is a condition that can lead to heart failure. Therefore, mixing alcohol and NSAIDs like Mobic is not recommended as it increases the risk of heart problems.

Symptoms of Mixing Alcohol and Mobic

Because mixing alcohol and Mobic can increase your risk of bleeding in your stomach and intestines, it is essential to be aware of bleeding symptoms, including:

  • Red blood in your vomit
  • Red blood in your stool
  • Particles that look like coffee grounds in your vomit
  • Stool that is black and tarry

As alcohol and Mobic can increase your risk of gastritis, it is also important to be aware of gastritis symptoms like:

  • Stomach pain
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Nausea or vomiting

Key Points: Alcohol and Mobic

Important points to remember about alcohol and Mobic include:

  • Mobic is a prescription-strength NSAID drug which should not be mixed with alcohol
  • Your risk of bleeding, especially in your stomach and intestines, increases if you drink and use Mobic
  • Your risk of gout flares, for which Mobic is prescribed, increases if you drink alcohol
  • Your risk of gastritis is higher if you combine alcohol and Mobic
  • Mobic and drinking alcohol can harm the heart and lead to cardiovascular problems

If you or a loved one struggle with alcohol addiction, a compassionate team of medical professionals at The Recovery Village can help. We offer many different addiction treatment options to help you lead a healthier life. Contact us today for more information on how to lead a life free from drinking.

  • Sources
    1. DailyMed. “Mobic.” Updated October 11, 2018. Accessed June 7, 2019.
    2. Ballard, Harold S. “The Hematological Complications of Alcoholism.” Alcohol Health and Research World, 1997. Accessed June 7, 2019.
    3. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Gastritis.” Published July 2015. Accessed June 7, 2019.
    4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Gout.” Reviewed January 28, 2019. Accessed June 7, 2019.
    5. The National Institutes of Health, News in Health. “Can You Recognize a Heart Attack or Stroke?” Published August 2014. Accessed June 7, 2019.

Is Meloxicam & Alcohol a Safe Mixing Combination?

It is not safe to drink alcohol while taking meloxicam. Doing so can increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems, including ulcers.

Meloxicam Overview

If you deal with arthritis, you may start using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). There are both over-the-counter and prescription options.
Meloxicam, known by its brand name Mobic, is prescribed for people who have pain in their joints.

Meloxicam can work for these types of arthritis:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: In this type of arthritis, your body’s immune system attacks your joints. Eventually, your joints might become deformed.
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune form of arthritis is diagnosed before a child is 16. It may stunt growth, cause swelling, and lead to pain in the joints.
  • Osteoarthritis: This stems from regular use of the joints. Cartilage in your joints starts to become thinner and wear down. It most commonly appears in the hips, knees, hands, elbows, and wrists.

Why Meloxicam Is Used

Meloxicam works by decreasing the proteins and cells in your body that cause inflammation. This reduces pain in your joints and diminishes swelling and can cause a fever.

Meloxicam is sold in a liquid form and as a tablet. NSAIDs are known not to be addictive, but they do have side effects. Their use can lead to:

  • An increase in blood pressure. Medical News Today mentions that NSAIDs cause a rise in blood pressure. This forces fluids to stay in your body longer and could cause problems with your kidneys in the long term.
  • Liver issues. People who have current liver issues should not take meloxicam because it is already known to cause injury to this organ.
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes
  • Blisters
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Symptoms that resemble the flu

You should contact your doctor if these side effects do not go away.

Risks of Meloxicam

Damage to the liver

This may be visible through yellowing in the eyes or skin, fatigue, and dark urine.

Gastrointestinal issues

Ulcers, bleeding, and other stomach issues may occur.

Skin issues

Dehydration, peeling of the skin, and organ failure could be signs of Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Effects in Combination With Other Substances

It is best not to use other substances when you are using meloxicam. Better Health Channel explains that using these substances can cause additional problems when taking NSAIDs:

  • Other NSAIDs: Meloxicam along with another NSAIDs, even over-the-counter medication such as aspirin, can increase the chances of bleeding.
  • Blood pressure and medication for cardiovascular health: This includes beta blockers and diuretics. Meloxicam and other NSAIDs can stop these medications from working altogether.
  • Blood thinners: These can amplify the chance of bleeding.
  • Alcohol: Drinking consistently or heavily can cause more problems with NSAIDs because it irritates your stomach’s lining. This may increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues, including bleeding.

Alcohol & Meloxicam

Some people who have arthritis sometimes take more than one medication to deal with their symptoms. Whether a prescription or over-the-counter NSAID is taken, they all usually come with a warning not to drink alcohol when taking it.

Drinking alcohol increases the chances of getting a stomach ulcer or of bleeding in the stomach. In addition, these issues may occur at any phase of your arthritis treatment. They may not show symptoms before they happen, and they can even become fatal in some people.

If taking meloxicam, you should avoid drinking alcohol. Though it is better to avoid all alcohol, it is best not to exceed more than three drinks per day.

People who take NSAIDs for a long time are at additional risk. Senior citizens and people who have compromised immune systems should avoid combining alcohol and NSAIDs altogether.

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A Final Word

People with arthritis sometimes use other medications in addition to NSAIDs. Some people use antidepressants to help them deal with everyday life, or they may use sleep medication to address sleep issues.

People who take NSAIDs may not be aware that these medications have a variety of side effects. It may be okay to take a drink once in a while to celebrate a special occasion. However, it is best to stay away from alcohol altogether to avoid complications.

A 2016 paper from the British Journal of General Practice states that NSAIDs, such as meloxicam result in 30 percent of hospital visits due to preventable adverse reactions to medications in the United Kingdom. The paper mentions that this may be because:

  • Severe adverse reactions can occur even after just one day of use.
  • The elderly are at higher risk of adverse reactions due to existing issues with the heart, kidneys, and blood pressure. Taking alcohol along with meloxicam is especially unsafe for senior citizens. High-risk groups are also known to take NSAIDs in high amounts.

In the UK, rates of NSAID fatalities are higher than those associated with car crashes and twice as high as death rates due to cervical cancer and asthma.

  • Senior citizens should use an alternative to NSAIDs whenever possible.
  • Improve safety standards for the prescription of NSAIDs.
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding
  • Heart attack
  • Coma or unresponsiveness
  • Difficulty breathing

Ultimately, avoiding all use of alcohol or other drugs while using meloxicam is the best way to stay safe from its possible adverse effects.


(July 2016) Meloxicam. MedlinePlus. Retrieved March 2019 from

(May 2017) Everything you need to know about NSAIDs. Medical News Today. Retrieved March 2019 from

(February 2017) Medications – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Better Health Channel.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Meloxicam?

“DO’s and DON’Ts”: Meloxicam Edition

Joint pain caused by arthritis can sometimes be, well, a pain to manage. Although there is not a cure for arthritis, a prescription for Meloxicam can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Meloxicam is typically prescribed for three different types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, or a swelling of joint lining; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or arthritis found in children; and ankylosing spondylitis, or arthritis of the spine.

What’s in a name?

Meloxicam is in a class of medication called “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” also known as NSAIDs – a name which sounds intense, but common over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen also fall under the NSAID umbrella. NSAIDs like Meloxicam stop the body from producing an enzyme that causes pain, fever, and inflammation, relieving symptoms associated with arthritis.

Although scientific studies show that Meloxicam kicks in after only 5 doses, people who take it say it generally takes about 2 weeks. The medication comes in pill and liquid form, so it is pretty user-friendly. However, there are some risks associated with the medication: here are some “dos and don’ts” to remember while taking Meloxicam.

DO: Limit Alcohol

A nice glass of wine at the end of the day is what some dreams are made of, but it could be trouble while taking Meloxicam. Alcohol consumption increases the risk for ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach and intestine – so if you do indulge, make it a glass instead of a bottle.

DON’T: Smoke

Smoking also increases the risk of bleeding in the stomach or intestines, especially if you smoke regularly while taking Meloxicam. Since it is generally a good idea to quit smoking anyway, taking Meloxicam can be the push to get you going.

DO: Keep Tabs on Your Body

We all know what’s normal for our bodies. Although Meloxicam can cause various, non-threatening side effects like diarrhea, constipation, and gas, the real side effects to keep an eye out for are unexplained rapid weight gain or swelling, hair loss, symptoms of fever, chest pain, or difficulty breathing or swallowing. If you notice any of these side effects while taking Meloxicam, give your doctor a call immediately.

DON’T: Mix Medications

Like oil and vinegar, or family reunions and in-laws, certain medications just don’t mix well. Drug interactions may happen when combining Meloxicam and other NSAIDs (like Advil, Aleve, Motrin, or Celebrex, just to name a few). People who take Meloxicam should also avoid blood thinners (anticoagulants), oral steroids, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac or Zoloft, and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Also, talk to your doctor before taking any other pain relievers or over-the-counter cold medicine – they may interact poorly with Meloxicam.

DO: Give Yourself Time

Meloxicam can take some time to start working, and, like other NSAIDs, will only work as long as you take the medication. The good news is, you can stop taking it without feeling withdrawal symptoms — so if you are keen to hit the bar for a night on the town, you can stop taking Meloxicam without weening yourself off – but it is always best to consult your doctor.

By Joanna Balin

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