Meloxicam and ibuprofen both belong to a class of medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs are non-addictive and non-habit-forming medications that treat pain. In contrast to opioid pain medications, ibuprofen and meloxicam are not controlled substances and are not addictive.

Similarities of Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

One of the most basic similarities between meloxicam and ibuprofen is that they are both generic medications with many different brand names.

Beyond their names, both medications are used to treat pain or pain-related conditions. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) has approved ibuprofen to treat the following conditions:

  • Analgesia (treatment of pain)
  • Antipyretic (treatment of fever)
  • Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Meloxicam has been approved to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but is also sometimes used to treat gout and gout flares.

Essentially, NSAIDs work by preventing the body from creating a chemical signal called prostaglandins. Nerve and muscle cells use prostaglandins as signals to each other. These signals can carry a variety of messages, including telling blood vessels when to expand, telling platelets to clump together and alerting the brain when the body is in pain.

Ibuprofen and meloxicam prevent the body from making prostaglandins, stopping these chemical signals and the sensation of pain. Additionally, NSAIDs can also help reduce tenderness, inflammation, and swelling, which leads to faster healing for some tissues.

Differences Between Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

One of the main differences between meloxicam and ibuprofen is that meloxicam is a prescription medication and ibuprofen is an over-the-counter drug.

Meloxicam is available only by prescription and has the following brand names:

  • Mobic Tablets
  • Qmiiz ODT (orally disintegrating tablets)
  • Vivlodex capsules

Meloxicam lasts longer than ibuprofen and is taken once daily. Since meloxicam is an NSAID, it can hurt the stomach and kidneys, but less than ibuprofen does since it is taken less often.

Ibuprofen is a well-known, over-the-counter drug that goes by the following brand names:

  • Advil
  • Motrin
  • NeoProfen
  • Provil

Doses of ibuprofen are taken about every six to eight hours because the medication does last all day. Most people tolerate ibuprofen well, but it should be used cautiously if someone has gastrointestinal (stomach) issues.

Ibuprofen, like all NSAIDs, weakens the lining of the stomach over time so tell your doctor if you are using ibuprofen over-the-counter. Additionally, NSAIDs can also reduce blood flow to the kidneys, so a person with a history of kidney problems should not use it.

Can I Take Meloxicam and Ibuprofen Together?

Can you take meloxicam and ibuprofen together? Since both medications work through the same mechanism, taking them together will not provide added benefit.

You can only take meloxicam and ibuprofen on the same day if your doctor has instructed you to do so. Taking them together is only appropriate in a few unique medical situations.

Many people mistakenly take ibuprofen without realizing that their meloxicam is the same kind of drug. For additional pain control, you usually need pain medication from a different class, like acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol).

Side Effects of Meloxicam and Ibuprofen Together

Taken together, ibuprofen and meloxicam increase the chances of their most common side effects. The most likely damage from this combination will be to the stomach or kidneys.

Common symptoms to look for include:

  • Cloudy, discolored or bloody urine
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Gas or bloating
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Swelling of the abdomen, feet, ankles or lower legs

Key Points: Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

Important takeaways about meloxicam and ibuprofen include:

  • Ibuprofen and meloxicam belong to the same class of medication, NSAIDs
  • Both medications are commonly used for pain conditions
  • Meloxicam is prescription and ibuprofen can be purchased over the counter
  • Taking both together will not provide an added benefit, only increase side effects
  • Common side effects from NSAIDs are damage to the stomach or kidneys

While ibuprofen and meloxicam are not addictive substances, many pain medications are. If you are concerned that you or a loved one is addicted to pain medication, call The Recovery Village. We can help determine if treatment is right for you.