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Mixing Alcohol and Meloxicam – Is it Dangerous?

The most significant risks associated with using meloxicam and alcohol together include gastrointestinal perforation and liver damage. Both of these issues can be life-threatening and require immediate treatment.

What Is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam is a prescription medication classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Doctors may prescribe it for arthritis or similar inflammatory conditions that can cause swelling and pain. It alleviates inflammation by blocking the enzymes that create a chemical compound referred to as prostaglandins. This compound causes inflammation, so by reducing its production, inflammation is alleviated.
This drug does not produce a high like other medications for pain, such as opioid pain relievers. However, using too much of it or mixing it with alcohol can have serious consequences on the body.

Side Effects of Meloxicam

Meloxicam can be prescribed on a short-term or long-term basis. It comes in a liquid suspension and tablet forms. It is usually only taken once daily.

The common side effects include constipation, sore throat, diarrhea, and gas.

There are certain side effects that are considered dangerous. These warrant immediate medical attention.

  • Rash
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Little energy
  • Back pain
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Paleness
  • Abdominal or lower extremity swelling
  • Jaundice
  • Urine that is bloody, cloudy, or discolored
  • Skin peeling or blisters
  • Facial swelling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Upper right stomach pain

It is possible for this drug to cause mental side effects that warrant contacting your doctor.

  • Mild depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Strange dreams
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

If you take more meloxicam than your doctor prescribes, an overdose is possible. The symptoms of an overdose include the following:

  • Upper stomach, throat, or chest pain
  • Facial or tongue swelling
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Blue-tinted skin, nails, or lips
  • Skin rash
  • Convulsions
  • Heartbeat changes
Tipped over shot glass

The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse takes a toll on health. The damage associated with alcohol abuse can be acute, or it can develop gradually over time.

When you consume alcohol, you can experience changes in mood and problems with coordination.

Alcohol abuse can affect your heart. 

The following are possible cardiac effects of alcohol abuse:

  • Cardiomyopathy (the heart muscle is enlarged, thick or rigid)
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure

Alcohol abuse can affect your liver. 

Alcohol can negatively impact the liver. It may cause alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver, and fibrosis. Pancreatitis is possible with chronic alcohol abuse. This is a dangerous condition that causes swelling and inflammation in the pancreas, which interferes with proper digestion.\

Chronic alcohol abuse may also increase your risk of certain cancers including: 

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Breast cancer

Combining Alcohol and Meloxicam 

The two main risks associated with combining meloxicam and alcohol are gastrointestinal perforation and liver damage.

Gastrointestinal perforation: A gastrointestinal perforation is a hole. It can occur in the stomach, large or small intestine, gallbladder, esophagus, or rectum.
Both meloxicam and alcohol are harsh on the stomach and irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract structures. Using both of these substances simultaneously, especially over the long term, can result in the lining thinning until a hole is present.

Once a gastrointestinal perforation is present, the contents of it leak into the abdominal area. This results in peritonitis, a type of severe and life-threatening infection. The symptoms of peritonitis include:

  • Chills and fever
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Several abdominal pain
  • Shock

Emergency surgery is the most common course of treatment. The surgical techniques used will vary, but all of them are aimed at finding and repairing the hole in the gastrointestinal tract. Antibiotics are typically given after the surgery to clear the infection and reduce the risk of sepsis during recovery.

Some people may need an ileostomy or a colostomy after emergency surgery. This may or may not be permanent. The purpose is to let the gastrointestinal tract rest while it recovers from the perforation and surgery.

Liver damage: Both alcohol and meloxicam abuse can injure the liver, putting it at risk for damage. As liver damage progresses, it can result in the organ no longer being able to function properly to sustain life. Untreated liver damage can lead to liver failure, which can be life-threatening without prompt intervention.

The liver is responsible for processing things in the body. This includes any alcohol and meloxicam that you consume. If you use high doses of these substances, the liver may not be able to keep up and sustain damage.

There are numerous types of liver damage, but the following are most commonly associated with alcohol and polydrug abuse:

  • Alcoholic hepatitis: Hepatitis is a type of liver inflammation. This specific type of hepatitis is usually associated with people who consume alcohol heavily.
  • Cirrhosis: This condition is characterized by scarring on the liver. The scar tissue can eventually overwhelm the healthy liver tissue, impairing liver function.
  • Fatty liver: This is considered the first stage of liver damage associated with alcohol abuse. It occurs as a result of cell damage making it hard for the liver to process fats and other toxins.
  • Fibrosis: This type of liver damage is characterized by scar tissue forming on the liver as a result of inflammation. As the scar tissue accumulates, liver function decreases.

If you are using meloxicam other than how it is prescribed, you are at risk of damaging your health.


Meloxicam. MedlinePlus. from

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. from

Alcohol and Cancer Risk. National Cancer Institute. from

Gastrointestinal Perforation. MedlinePlus. from

The Progression of Liver Disease. American Liver Foundation. from

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