- Meloxicam vs. Celebrex: Differences, similarities, and which one is better for you
- What are the main differences between Meloxicam vs. Celebrex?
- Conditions treated by Meloxicam and Celebrex
- Is Meloxicam or Celebrex more effective?
- Coverage and cost comparison of Meloxicam vs. Celebrex
- Common side effects of Meloxicam and Celebrex
- Drug interactions of Meloxicam vs. Celebrex
- Warnings of Meloxicam and Celebrex
- Frequently asked questions about Meloxicam vs. Celebrex
- Is ibuprofen or meloxicam better for pain?
- Which has a lower risk for gastrointestinal (GI bleeding)?
- Which is less harmful to the heart?
- Which is less harmful to the kidneys?
- Which is less harmful to the liver?
- Which has a lower risk for stroke?
- Which is cheaper?
- Which is more convenient?
- What Is Meloxicam (Mobic) and How Is It Abused?
- Meloxicam Overdose Symptoms
- Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Meloxicam
- Get Help for Polydrug or Prescription Drug Abuse
- Are There Alternatives to My Arthritis Drugs?
- Osteoarthritis Medications List
Meloxicam vs. Celebrex: Differences, similarities, and which one is better for you
Drug overview & main differences | Conditions treated | Efficacy | Insurance coverage and cost comparison | Side effects | Drug interactions | Warnings | FAQ
Meloxicam and Celebrex are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat arthritis. Meloxicam is a generic version of Mobic while Celebrex is the brand name for celecoxib. Both drugs work by preventing the release of inflammatory substances called prostaglandins. By blocking their release in the body, meloxicam and Celebrex can alleviate pain, inflammation, and swelling in the joints.
While both NSAIDs treat pain, they have some differences in how they’re used and some side effects to watch out for. Other examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac.
What are the main differences between Meloxicam vs. Celebrex?
Meloxicam is a generic medication that is usually taken once daily for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Meloxicam can reach peak levels in the blood up to 6 hours after taking a dose. It is absorbed over a longer period of time compared to Celebrex and other NSAIDs.
Celebrex (celecoxib) is a brand name drug that can be taken once or twice daily depending on the type of arthritis being treated. Celebrex can also treat menstrual cramps. Peak concentrations of celecoxib are reached 3 hours after administration. Therefore, its effects are produced more quickly but last for a shorter time compared to meloxicam.
|Main differences between Meloxicam vs. Celebrex|
|Drug class||Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)||Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)|
|Brand/generic status||Generic version available||Generic version available|
|What is the generic name?
What is the brand name?
|Generic name: Meloxicam
Brand name: Mobic
|Generic name: Celecoxib
Brand name: Celebrex
|What form(s) does the drug come in?||Oral tablet
Orally disintegrating tablet
|What is the standard dosage?||7.5 mg once daily||200 mg once daily or 100 mg twice daily|
|How long is the typical treatment?||Short-term or long-term use depending on your doctor’s instruction||Short-term or long-term use depending on your doctor’s instruction|
|Who typically uses the medication?||Adults and children over 2 years old and weigh 132 lbs (60 kg) or more||Adults and children over 2 years old and weigh 22 lbs (10 kg) or more|
Conditions treated by Meloxicam and Celebrex
Meloxicam is an FDA-approved generic medication to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune type of inflammation, in children 2 to 17 years old who weighs 132 lbs (60 kg) or more.
Celebrex (celecoxib) is a brand name drug FDA approved to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It also treats juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children 2 to 17 years old who weighs 22 lbs (10 kg) or more. Celebrex can also treat arthritis of the spine (ankylosing spondylitis), menstrual cramp pain (primary dysmenorrhea), and general acute pain.
|Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis||Yes||Yes|
Is Meloxicam or Celebrex more effective?
Meloxicam and Celebrex are both effective at reducing inflammation, pain, and swelling if associated with arthritis. They are COX-2 inhibitor NSAIDs that decrease the production of prostaglandins by blocking the cyclooxygenase (COX-2) enzyme. Because everyone responds to medications differently, their differences in effectiveness vary between individuals.
In one review, COX-2 selective NSAIDs such as meloxicam and celecoxib were found to be equally effective as nonselective NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen for arthritis. However, some results showed that meloxicam may be less effective in some cases. COX-2 selective NSAIDs were found to have less gastrointestinal (GI) side effects such as stomach ulcers compared to other NSAIDs.
Another study showed that, while drugs like celecoxib and meloxicam have less risk of GI adverse events, they may have an increased risk of cardiovascular or heart side effects. However, all NSAIDs, in general, were found to have some cardiovascular risk and should only be taken with proper medical advice.
Coverage and cost comparison of Meloxicam vs. Celebrex
Meloxicam is a generic medication that is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. The average retail cost of meloxicam is around $35. By using a Single Care discount card, you can save more and pay around $13 for the same quantity.
Celebrex is a brand-name medication available in a generic version which is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. The average retail cost of brand-name Celebrex is around $230. With a Single Care discount card, you can save on generic celecoxib and pay around $120 for the same quantity.
|Typically covered by insurance?||Yes||Yes|
|Typically covered by Medicare?||Yes||Yes|
|Standard dosage||7.5 mg tablets (quantity of 14)||50 mg capsules (quantity of 60)|
|Typical Medicare copay||Depends on your insurance plan||Depends on your insurance plan|
Common side effects of Meloxicam and Celebrex
Meloxicam and Celebrex share similar side effects. Both NSAIDs can cause side effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, and flatulence (gas). Both medications can also cause headache, dizziness, back pain, and flu-like symptoms among others.
More serious side effects may include altered blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and impaired liver function. Although rare, allergic reactions are also possible and include trouble breathing, chest pain, swelling, and hives.
Source: DailyMed (Meloxicam), DailyMed (Celebrex)
Drug interactions of Meloxicam vs. Celebrex
Both meloxicam and Celebrex can interact with blood thinners such as low dose aspirin, warfarin, and other drugs. Taking these medications together can increase the risk of bleeding and stomach ulcers.
Meloxicam and Celebrex can also interact with diuretics and certain blood pressure medications such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and beta blockers. Taking these drugs together may increase the risk of kidney problems.
Meloxicam and Celebrex also interact with lithium, methotrexate, and cyclosporine. Taking these drugs together can lead to increased toxicity.
It’s important to discuss all medications you may be taking with your doctor before taking an NSAID like meloxicam or Celebrex.
|Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant||Yes||Yes|
|Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant||Yes||Yes|
|Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors||Yes||Yes|
|Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)||Yes||Yes|
*This may not be a complete list of all possible drug interactions. Consult a doctor with all medications you may be taking.
Warnings of Meloxicam and Celebrex
Meloxicam and Celebrex both have warnings on their drug labels that indicate a greater risk of gastrointestinal (GI) and cardiovascular effects. These NSAIDs can increase the risk of GI events such as stomach ulcers or bleeding in the stomach or intestines. They can also increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke. If you have a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or other conditions, you may be at a higher risk.
Both meloxicam and Celebrex are not recommended in those who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
Meloxicam and Celebrex should be monitored in those with kidney or liver problems as they can make these issues worse. These NSAIDs can also worsen asthma-related to aspirin sensitivity.
It is not recommended to use NSAIDs while pregnant.
Frequently asked questions about Meloxicam vs. Celebrex
What is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam is a generic NSAID medication that can treat inflammation, pain, and swelling from arthritis. It is usually taken once daily depending on your doctor’s prescription. As a relatively selective COX-2 inhibitor, it may have a lower risk of stomach ulcers compared to other NSAIDs.
What is Celebrex?
Celebrex is the brand name for celecoxib, an NSAID that treats arthritis. It can also treat arthritis of the spine as well as menstrual cramps. Celebrex is taken once or twice daily. It belongs to a class of NSAIDs called COX-2 selective NSAIDs.
Are Meloxicam and Celebrex the same?
Meloxicam and Celebrex belong to the same class of medications called NSAIDs. However, they are not the same. They have different uses and may be taken differently depending on the condition being treated.
Is Meloxicam or Celebrex better?
Meloxicam and Celebrex are both effective depending on their use. Meloxicam may be preferred for its once-daily dosing. Celebrex may be preferred for someone who has ankylosing spondylitis or menstrual cramps.
Can I use Meloxicam or Celebrex while pregnant?
Meloxicam and Celebrex should be avoided in women who are pregnant. Taking NSAIDs during the third trimester can increase the risk of heart problems in the baby.
Can I use Meloxicam or Celebrex with alcohol?
No. It is not recommended to use meloxicam or Celebrex with alcohol. Doing so can increase the risk of bleeding or stomach ulcers.
Does Celebrex cause weight gain?
Weight gain is a rare but possible side effect of Celebrex. It can occur in 0.1% to 1.9% of those who take Celebrex, according to the drug label.
Does Celebrex work immediately?
Celebrex starts working as the drug is absorbed in the body. Absorption can occur rather quickly although it may take a couple weeks of taking Celebrex consistently to receive the full benefits.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used to treat acute pain and chronic, inflammatory joint diseases. However, there can be a downfall to using NSAIDs for a long time—they can increase the occurrence of upper gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as ulcers and bleeding.
But, did you know that among the NSAIDs, there are non-selective and partially selective NSAIDs, and they may have different side effect risks? NSAIDs all work by blocking enzymes known as cyclooxygenases (or COX for short), which catalyze immune reactions like redness, swelling, and pain.
We have two cyclooxygenases, COX-1 and COX-2, which affect the body in slightly different ways. Non-selective NSAIDs target both, while partially selective NSAIDs only work on COX-2. This is why these two types of NSAIDs may have different side effects. Blocking COX-1 can increase your risk for GI symptoms, for example, which is why some partially selective NSAIDs may cause fewer GI effects than non-selective NSAIDs, while still being just as effective.
Here, we’ll compare ibuprofen (Advil), a typical, non-selective NSAID, with meloxicam (MOBIC), a partially selective NSAID. Which one’s better? In short, it will depend on a consideration of pros and cons, and what’s most important to you. Let’s take a look.
Is ibuprofen or meloxicam better for pain?
To sum up results from short-term studies, meloxicam and non-selective NSAIDs like ibuprofen show similar pain reduction effects on patients with arthritis pain and soft tissue pain.
Winner = neither. It’s a draw for pain.
Which has a lower risk for gastrointestinal (GI bleeding)?
Surprisingly, even though meloxicam is a partially selective NSAID, studies show that the risk for GI bleeding with meloxicam is generally higher than with ibuprofen. One thing to remember, though, is that with any type of NSAID, the higher dose, the higher the risk of GI side effects.
Winner = ibuprofen.
Which is less harmful to the heart?
Long-term use of NSAIDs can result in a slightly increased risk of heart disease, likely because NSAIDs constrict the blood vessels and cause your body to hold onto salt and water, both of which may lead to high blood pressure or hypertension.
The risk for heart disease is lower with meloxicam compared to ibuprofen. In fact, at the normally recommended dose of 15 mg per day, meloxicam has not been shown to be associated with an increased risk of heart attack at all. Ibuprofen, but not meloxicam, has been suggested to increase the risk of heart attack, with higher daily doses resulting in higher risk.
Winner = meloxicam
Which is less harmful to the kidneys?
Kidney problems in folks taking ibuprofen are rare, but they are known to happen. It’s even less of an issue with meloxicam. In studies, two lab measures of kidney dysfunction, serum creatinine and creatinine clearance, were found to be higher in patients treated with ibuprofen compared to those treated with meloxicam. This is important. Meloxicam may be safer on the kidneys, likely due to fewer effects on blood flow to the kidneys.
Winner = meloxicam
Which is less harmful to the liver?
Neither meloxicam nor ibuprofen has been found to cause more harm to the liver compared to a placebo (sugar) pill.
Winner = neither
Which has a lower risk for stroke?
It’s still unclear whether NSAIDs as a group cause an increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke. A recent review of 12 research studies showed that in general, NSAID use is not associated with a higher risk of stroke, although meloxicam was one of two NSAID drugs that showed a small but statistically significant risk. (The other drug was diclofenac.)
Winner = ibuprofen
Which is cheaper?
Since both meloxicam and ibuprofen are generic medications, they are both relatively cheap and cost should not be a problem for either.
Winner = both
Which is more convenient?
Meloxicam is taken once daily at a dose of 7.5 mg or 15 mg, whereas ibuprofen can be taken every 6 to 8 hours at a dose of 200 mg each time, depending on your pain. However, ibuprofen tends to be more convenient from the start as it is available over the counter, and meloxicam is only available by prescription.
Winner = ibuprofen
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What Is Meloxicam (Mobic) and How Is It Abused?
Meloxicam Overdose Symptoms
It is also possible to overdose on meloxicam or Mobic. Symptoms of an overdose include:
- Reduced energy or lethargy
- Sleepiness or drowsiness
- Stomach pain
- Bloody stool
- Black tarry stool
- Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Bloody vomit
- Trouble breathing
If a person may have overdosed on meloxicam, seek emergency medical attention.
Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Meloxicam
Although meloxicam has some potentially dangerous side effects, like other NSAIDs, it is not able to cause euphoria, or a high, that could potentially lead to addiction or substance abuse.
However, some people do reportedly abuse meloxicam because it is a prescription painkiller, which some people assume means that it contains an opioid. Individuals who struggle with an opioid use disorder may take meloxicam if they believe it is a opioid painkiller. The U.S. Department of Justice notes, in a 2011 report on drug trafficking in New England, that meloxicam had been seized by law enforcement officials in the area.
Additionally, meloxicam may be used in a pattern of polydrug abuse. For example, people who suffer hangovers from binge drinking alcohol frequently may take large doses of meloxicam to relieve their hangover symptoms quickly. This may then enable them to binge drink more frequently, since there may be fewer immediate consequences. The combination of alcohol and NSAIDs is very dangerous, as it can lead to dangerous ulcers or bleeding in the stomach or intestines.
For people who take NSAIDs, smoking raises the likelihood of gastrointestinal bleeding.
However, tobacco use is common among people who abuse other substances. In fact, adults with substance use disorders or mental illness smoke cigarettes more than those with none of these disorders.
Get Help for Polydrug or Prescription Drug Abuse
Many people with substance use disorders struggle with multiple substances over the course of their lives. Meloxicam is a prescription painkiller, and although it is an NSAID and cannot cause a high, some people may misuse or abuse the substance anyway due to a misunderstanding of what it is or in an effort to alleviate pain. In large doses, meloxicam can be very dangerous, especially to the gastrointestinal system. It is important to get help from a rehabilitation program as soon as possible to overcome addiction and substance abuse, especially polydrug abuse or issues with co-occurring disorders.
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Are There Alternatives to My Arthritis Drugs?
Thank you for your excellent question, which actually raises four issues:
What is causing your kidney problems?
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
- The medications you’re taking for RA?
- Your high blood pressure?
The fourth issue is whether there are drugs for RA that do not affect the kidneys.
RA itself does not affect the kidneys, with one exception: rheumatoid vasculitis — inflammation of the blood vessels that can also affect kidney vessels. Thankfully, this complication is now rare.
Some of the medications used to treat RA can affect the kidneys, however. Gold injections, which are now used infrequently, can cause “gold nephropathy,” with loss of protein in the urine. Gold nephropathy is reversible when it’s caught early and the gold injections are stopped. Although gold is effective for certain patients, its use is now limited because of several side effects, relatively low treatment success, and mainly because much more potent medications are available.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include aspirin, indomethacin (Indocin), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), sulindac (Clinoril), diclofenac (Voltaren), celecoxib (Celebrex), piroxicam (Feldene), meloxicam (Mobic), and several others. NSAIDs act against inflammation, pain, and fever and are useful in the short term. They do not affect the course of RA in the long run and cannot induce a remission. A relatively small proportion of patients on NSAIDs (about 5 to 10 percent) may develop kidney abnormalities: salt and water retention with leg swelling, which may lead to heart failure in persons with compromised heart function; proteinuria (loss of protein in the urine); and perhaps interstitial nephritis, a type of kidney inflammation. With the exception of the last problem, side effects of NSAIDs involving the kidneys are seen early in the treatment and disappear when the medication is stopped.
An analgesic (painkiller) drug — phenacetin — that was used in combination medications sold over the counter has been associated with chronic kidney disease in patients who took it frequently over several years. This disease, known as analgesic nephropathy, can lead to kidney failure. Phenacetin has been banned in most countries. There is uncertainty whether over-the-counter combination analgesics that do not contain phenacetin may cause analgesic nephropathy. It has been suggested that taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) in large doses (3 or more grams per day) for many years may cause kidney damage. The best course of action is to avoid combination over-the-counter analgesics.
Among RA medications, Imuran (azathioprine), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil, HCQ), and leflunomide (Arava) do not cause kidney side effects. Methotrexate is a preferential early treatment of RA; it takes four to six weeks to effect improvement, and it is commonly combined with biologic drugs. Penicillamine is hardly ever used for RA today because it has several serious side effects, including nephropathy (kidney disease with proteinuria).
Since November 1998, biologic drugs have been available for the treatment of RA, and these drugs target one of the major substances that fuel rheumatoid inflammation: tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a). TNF-a inhibitor drugs include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), and adalimumab (Humira). Enbrel and Humira are injected by the patient; Remicade is given intravenously at an infusion center or a hospital. All three drugs are given with methotrexate for greater effect. Another biologic drug used in RA is rituximab (Rituxan), which targets antibody-producing B lymphocytes. Biologic drugs do not affect the kidneys, they act faster than the oral drugs, and they are very effective in harnessing RA inflammation.
It is a well-known fact that uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. Hypertension should be very well controlled so as to prevent these consequences that shorten life and lessen quality of life.
Your rheumatologist, who knows your medical history best, can determine what is responsible for your kidney problems, whether you should avoid the Clinoril at this time and if it might be best for you to take another RA drug — perhaps one of the biologics.
Osteoarthritis Medications List
Like analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) treat pain. Unlike analgesics, these drugs also help prevent painful inflammation and joint damage. They’re the top choice of treatment for people with OA because they’re effective and non-sedating.
NSAIDs come in oral and topical forms. There are many different choices. Some are available OTC.
Your doctor will likely tell you to start with OTC NSAIDs. If those don’t work, your doctor may give you a prescription NSAID.
NSAIDs come with risks, even the OTC versions. Side effects can include:
- stomach irritation, erosion, or ulcers (can lead to stomach bleeding and death)
- kidney problems
If you have kidney disease, ask your doctor if NSAIDs are safe for you. You shouldn’t take NSAIDs long term without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will monitor you during your treatment. If you’re allergic to aspirin, you also shouldn’t take NSAIDs.
Examples of NSAIDs include:
Aspirin (Bayer, St. Joseph)
Aspirin is an OTC NSAID that treats pain and inflammation. It can help treat your OA symptoms to enhance your quality of life.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
Ibuprofen is an NSAID available in both OTC and prescription strengths. Taking ibuprofen long term is not recommended because of the risk of stomach bleeding and heart attack.
The FDA recommends taking the smallest dose that works for you and only taking it for up to 10 days. You should not take ibuprofen for longer than 10 days unless your doctor tells you to.
Naproxen sodium and naproxen (Aleve)
Naproxen sodium is an OTC NSAID. It’s used to treat OA pain and inflammation. Higher doses are also available in prescription forms.
This drug has the advantage that it doesn’t carry the same risk of heart attack that ibuprofen does. However, it does have some side effects. These include:
- stomach pain
Diclofenac (Zorvolex, Voltaren) and diclofenac-misoprostol (Arthrotec)
Diclofenac is a prescription NSAID that comes in both oral and topical forms. Diclofenac-misoprostol (Arthrotec) combines diclofenac with a drug to protect against stomach ulcers. It, too, can cause side effects. These include:
- stomach pain
Other prescription NSAIDs for OA | NSAIDs
These are prescription NSAIDs approved to treat the symptoms of OA: