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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

March 26, 2024

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Meloxicam withdrawal occurs when you stop taking it suddenly without tapering, which should be done only under supervision from a doctor. Discontinuing meloxicam suddenly without medical guidance is not recommended. Doing so could result in the recurrence of initial symptoms – joint pain and inflammation, for instance.

Meloxicam is a prescribed NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), classified as an anti-inflammatory medication. While not a narcotic, meloxicam is sometimes misused by individuals with substance use disorders, despite its lack of intoxicating effects.

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Read on to learn more about the following issues:

  • What is meloxicam?
  • What happens when you stop taking meloxicam?
  • Can you just stop taking meloxicam at home or should you seek medical assistance?

What is Meloxicam Used For?

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) primarily used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis. It works by reducing inflammation, pain, and swelling in the body.


Meloxicam Withdrawal Symptoms

Drug withdrawal refers to the physical and psychological symptoms that occur when someone abruptly reduces or stops using a substance to which they have developed a dependence. This process happens because the body has adapted to the presence of the drug, and suddenly removing it disrupts equilibrium (homeostasis).

Withdrawal symptoms of meloxicam vary widely depending on dosage and duration of use. They may include physical discomfort, psychological distress, and cravings for the drug. Quitting meloxicam does not usually involve significant withdrawal challenges, allowing for safe discontinuation without tapering.

If meloxicam is used for pain, stopping might reveal underlying discomfort, warranting precautions. Although not psychoactive like other addictive substances that cause withdrawal, discontinuation might lead to the recurrence of pain and inflammation. Consulting a healthcare provider before discontinuing any drug is essential.

Although meloxicam is non-addictive, excessive usage or overdose can harm mental and physical health. If dependency forms or high doses are taken, abruptly stopping the medication might lead to withdrawal effects, including:

  • Sore throat and flu-like symptoms
  • Allergies (itching and swelling)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Stomach or back pain
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Increased heart rate
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Digestive problems

Abrupt discontinuation of meloxicam can also trigger stomach or bowel issues like diarrhea, ulcers, bleeding, and potentially harm the liver or kidneys.

Mental dependency may cause further withdrawal effects like:

  • Increased agitation
  • Depression
  • Enhanced pain perception
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
A man stands at a window looking out to represent the side effects of stopping meloxicam

Side Effects of Stopping Meloxicam

Meloxicam is mainly used to alleviate pain and inflammation linked to conditions like arthritis. Abruptly stopping meloxicam can lead to the resurgence of symptoms it initially addressed, such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Unlike addictive substances associated with withdrawal syndrome, meloxicam does not create a psychoactive response or induce typical withdrawal symptoms. However, if meloxicam was used to manage pain, discontinuation might expose underlying discomfort. To navigate discontinuation safely, consult a healthcare provider. They can offer guidance on managing the transition, suggesting alternative treatments if needed. Always prioritize medical advice to ensure a seamless and comfortable adjustment.

Abruptly stopping a medication like meloxicam could have various effects on your body. Some potential meloxicam side effects include:

  • Rebound inflammation and pain: Meloxicam is used to manage pain and inflammation, so discontinuing the medication might lead to a return of the symptoms for which it was originally prescribed.
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular events: NSAIDs like meloxicam have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. Stopping the medication abruptly could potentially impact this risk.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: NSAIDs can be harsh on the stomach lining and may increase the risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. Stopping meloxicam might reduce this risk, but sudden discontinuation could also lead to stomach upset.
  • Fluid retention and swelling: NSAIDs can sometimes cause fluid retention and swelling in certain individuals. Stopping the medication might lead to a reduction in these symptoms, but you should discuss this with a healthcare provider.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: While not common with meloxicam, some medications can lead to withdrawal symptoms when abruptly stopped. This could include feelings of discomfort, mood changes, or other physical sensations.
  • Blood pressure changes: NSAIDs can affect blood pressure and discontinuing meloxicam might impact blood pressure levels in some people.
  • Renal effects: NSAIDs like meloxicam can impact kidney function. Stopping the medication might have implications for kidney health, especially in those who have pre-existing kidney issues.
  • Medication interactions: If you are taking other medications alongside meloxicam, discontinuing it might affect how those medications work or interact with your body.

The specific effects of stopping meloxicam can vary from person to person based on factors such as duration of use, dosage, and individual health conditions. Always consult a healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication regimen. If you are experiencing side effects or you  have concerns about meloxicam, your doctor can guide you on how to safely manage your condition.

Is Meloxicam Addictive?

Meloxicam is not considered addictive in the same way that opioids or other drugs are, as it does not produce the same euphoric effects or lead to compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, sudden discontinuation of meloxicam can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms.


How to Stop Taking Meloxicam

If you’re struggling with meloxicam withdrawal, it’s important that you reach out to your prescribing physician to discuss your symptoms. While there are some basic steps you can take, it’s important to consult your doctor before making any changes:

  1. Talk to Your Doctor: before you stop taking meloxicam, talk to your doctor. They will be able to help guide you and provide instructions for how to taper off the medication safely and effectively. 
  2. Follow a Tapering Protocol: If your doctor suggests a tapering schedule, use this plan to help you wean off the medication. 
  3. Be Aware of Your Symptoms: During your tapering schedule, make sure to pay attention to any meloxicam withdrawal symptoms you may be experiencing. If these symptoms become uncomfortable, or if the symptoms meloxicam was treating return, contact your doctor. 
  4. Use Alternative Treatments for Pain: If you were using meloxicam to manage pain and inflammation, try utilizing other pain management tools like other medications, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, etc. 
  5. Follow up With Your Doctor: After you’ve stopped taking meloxicam, follow up with your doctor to ensure that your condition remains well-managed. They may recommend periodic check-ups to monitor your health.
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Get Treatment for Meloxicam Withdrawal at Renaissance Recovery

If you or a loved one have been abusing prescription medications to the extent of addiction, kickstart your recovery at Renaissance Recovery’s rehabs in Florida and in Southern California. We specialize in treating all types of prescription drug addictions in an outpatient setting. We also offer integrated dual diagnosis treatment for those grappling with addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Choose from these prescription drug addiction treatment programs:

All of our treatment programs combine holistic and science-based interventions that may include medication-assisted treatment alongside therapies such as:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Aftercare

Call admissions at 866.330.9449 when you are ready to reclaim your life from addiction to prescription medications like meloxicam.



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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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