Over the last 15 years, prescription drug misuse has become increasingly common. According to some research, as many as 18 million people misused a prescription medication at least once between 2016 and 2017. And, since prescription drug abuse has become so prevalent in the U.S., people are beginning to abuse prescription drugs that typically have a low potential for misuse. Meloxicam is one of them.
If you or a loved one has been misusing Meloxicam, it’s important to know that the consequences can be potentially life-threatening. This article outlines how to recognize the signs and symptoms of Meloxicam abuse as well as why Meloxicam addiction requires immediate help.
What Is Meloxicam?
Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that treats swelling, tenderness, stiffness, and discomfort associated with chronic pain conditions like osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The brand names of this prescription drug include Mobic, Vivlodex, and Comfort Pac-Meloxicam. Depending on the brand, the drug can come in either a tablet or liquid form. The FDA approved Meloxicam in 2000, and now, the prescription medication is only available through a doctor.
Although the primary use of this medication is to treat chronic pain conditions, it is not an opioid. In fact, Meloxicam is a popular alternative to opioids since it carries a significantly lower risk of dependency, abuse, and addiction.
Since it isn’t an opioid and doesn’t cause any euphoric effects, medical professionals believed Meloxicam to have a very low risk for abuse and addiction. However, some people misuse the drug— and the side effects are dangerous.
Some people inadvertently misuse Meloxicam when they raise their dosage without their doctor’s authorization. Generally, trying to manage pain without a doctor’s advice is dangerous. As with any other medication, people should only use Meloxicam as prescribed.
Still, the most common way that some people abuse Meloxicam is by combining it with other substances. Some might use the drug to combat the side effects of another drug. For example, someone with a hangover may try to use Meloxicam to alleviate the discomfort, even though that is not what the drug is meant to do.
Using Meloxicam in any way other than intended may be considered abuse. It’s also important to note that interactions between Meloxicam and other substances are especially dangerous.
Since misuse is on the rise, the FDA recommends that people with a history of drug and alcohol abuse shouldn’t use or have access to Meloxicam. This medication manages chronic pain, and those with a history of substance abuse may misuse Meloxicam in an effort to get the same euphoric effects as an opioid or another prescription painkiller.
Risks of Meloxicam Abuse
The low-risk side effects of standard Meloxicam use include diarrhea, gas, constipation, sore throat, and stomach upset. More severe side effects may include stomach pain, vomiting, or heartburn. If you experience any of these, you should seek medical help immediately.
The importance of taking Meloxicam as prescribed becomes even greater when you consider the effects of long-term misuse. Meloxicam abuse carries the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, liver damage, and even kidney damage.
Moreover, Meloxicam abuse could end in an overdose. This is typically the consequence of taking more quantities of Meloxicam than was prescribed by a doctor. Overdose can also occur when someone takes the drug more often than medically necessary.
The signs of a Meloxicam overdose include:
- lack of energy
- nausea or vomiting
- difficulty breathing
- severe stomach pain
- black or bloody stool
- unresponsiveness or coma
If you recognize any of these signs, seek medical attention right away. Many of these symptoms can cause long-term damage to your physical health if left untreated.
Symptoms of Meloxicam Abuse
As previously mentioned, Meloxicam does not produce the same effects associated with other painkillers. It’s because of this that the drug is thought to have a low potential for abuse and addiction. Still, some people do abuse the drug, resulting in dangerous side effects.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Meloxicam abuse is the first step to getting help. Some of the most common signs of misuse, abuse, and addiction include:
- stealing pills from family or friend
- frequent lack of energy and motivation
- secretive behavior surrounding the use of the drug
- taking the drug for reasons other than its prescribed use
- needing to refill prescriptions more frequently than expected
- visiting more than one doctor or pharmacy to obtain multiple prescriptions
- spending a significant amount of time thinking about the drug and how to get more
There are other signs of abuse to look out for as well. If you or a loved one are experiencing problems with relationships, difficulties at work or school, or are unable to control Meloxicam use despite the negative consequences, then there may be a problem.
What to Do About Meloxicam Abuse
Since this drug doesn’t have the same effects on the brain as opioids and other extremely addictive drugs, the risks of Meloxicam withdrawal are actually very minimal. In other words, Meloxicam abuse can usually be stopped without much risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
However, those who misuse legitimate Meloxicam prescriptions to manage chronic pain will most likely experience discomfort when stopping their drug use. In fact, ceasing Meloxicam use will most likely cause their chronic pain to return.
In situations that involve chronic pain management, seeking medical detoxification is essential. Professionals can help chronic pain patients manage the return of their symptoms in a way that’s both safe and effective. Without help, Meloxicam withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, and the chances of relapse are much higher.
If you or a loved one are abusing Meloxicam, it’s important to seek help. This drug can cause severe side effects when used outside the scope of the prescription.
Thankfully, there are a number of services that can help. A combination of therapies, peer support, and medical guidance can resolve the issues associated with prescription drug abuse.
Looking for Immediate Help?
Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat chronic pain conditions. Although it has a low risk for addiction and abuse, like all prescriptions, the potential for Meloxicam abuse still exists. Abuse may involve upping the dosage to self-medicate or seeking the euphoric high that is commonly associated with other painkillers. Regardless of the reasons for it, Meloxicam abuse is dangerous.
If you or a loved one are showing signs of abuse, contact us today. We can help you find the right treatment.