Meloxicam withdrawal isn’t as challenging as opioid or alcohol withdrawal are. Find out what the anti-inflammatory’s detox process is like.

Meloxicam is a prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), otherwise known as an anti-inflammatory medication. Although it is not a narcotic medication, and people generally do not get high off meloxicam, it is occasionally abused by people seeking to fuel their substance use disorder. However, for those taking meloxicam, there is information about the medication and its effects that are important to know prior to stopping the medication.

Meloxicam Withdrawal

Withdrawal from meloxicam is generally not difficult, and the drug may be safely stopped without any tapering. However, if you take the drug for pain, some pain symptoms may be unmasked by stopping the drug, and it may be wise for people to take precautions to avoid any discomfort. An awareness of meloxicam helps people anticipate any potential problems, but it is always important to discuss medications with a healthcare provider when considering discontinuing any drug.

Meloxicam Withdrawal Symptoms

There are no withdrawal symptoms from meloxicam as there are from alcohol, opioids or stimulants. This characteristic is because meloxicam is not psychoactive, meaning that it does not readily cross the blood–brain barrier and affect the brain’s chemistry.

Although meloxicam does not cause a withdrawal syndrome, since it is used to treat pain and inflammation, anyone who suddenly stops taking the medication may experience the return of their pain or inflammation. This return would include the symptoms of inflammation such as stiffness, swelling, redness and heat. Stopping meloxicam does not require tapering or a weaning-off period, although the dose may be gradually lowered for people who do not require the urgent cessation of the drug.

Meloxicam Half-Life: How Long Does Withdrawal Last? 

The elimination half-life — the length of time it takes the body to metabolize and get rid of half of the drug in your system — of meloxicam is 15 to 24 hours. There is no known “rebound” worsening of symptoms after stopping meloxicam, so the only effect of stopping meloxicam will be the unmasking of symptoms that were suppressed by the drug. The return of any symptoms will last as long as the condition causing them is active and does not depend on the medication itself. As mentioned, meloxicam has no withdrawal symptoms.

Meloxicam Withdrawal Medications

There are no specific safety concerns about withdrawing from meloxicam, such as with alcohol withdrawal, so there is no direct requirement to use any withdrawal medication. However, to prevent the return of the pain or inflammation that the meloxicam was suppressing, a health care provider may want to prescribe another treatment to help with the symptoms. Other treatments could be other inflammation-suppressing medications (such as prednisone, other NSAIDs or anti-rheumatics), pain medication (such as other NSAIDs or acetaminophen) or physical anti-inflammatory and pain treatments (such as physical therapy, acupuncture, ice, elevation, compression and rest).

Meloxicam Withdrawal Deaths

Although meloxicam itself can cause side effects that are potentially fatal (such as bleeding in the stomach or kidney problems), meloxicam withdrawal itself is not known to carry a risk of death. As such, withdrawing from the medication can be done safely at home without any tapering. However, discussing the discontinuation of any drug with a health care provider is necessary. A physician may advise the use of another medication to ease the unmasking of any symptoms that the meloxicam may have been managing.

Meloxicam Withdrawal Cold Turkey

If a person must stop taking meloxicam, there are no specific dangers to their health from stopping the medication cold turkey. However, a person may wish to taper the medication or use an alternative to ease the return of the pain and inflammation symptoms for which they were taking the medication.

Meloxicam Withdrawal Tips

Someone that is planning to stop taking meloxicam should do so in consultation with their doctor. If they were taking meloxicam that wasn’t theirs or taking more than the prescribed dose, they should be honest with their doctor about that behavior. They can also discuss what, if any, of their pain or inflammation symptoms may return after stopping the medication and whether an alternative treatment may be needed.

How Long Does Meloxicam Stay In Your System? 

When meloxicam is taken, most of it is metabolized and removed from the body in less than a couple of days, so there is no prolonged detoxification involved with stopping meloxicam use. Because there are no withdrawal symptoms associated with meloxicam, the detox process is not as challenging as an opioid’s detox process is. Always consult with your doctor before changing your medicinal regimen in any way.

Meloxicam Detox at Home

It’s safe to withdraw from meloxicam at home, so long as it’s approved by a doctor. It may be wise to plan a quiet, restful day with someone nearby to help in case pain and inflammation symptoms return and cause discomfort or limited mobility. Involving friends and family in the process is usually helpful, as they can provide comfort and support that an individual would not have if they were on their own.

Helping Someone Withdrawing or Detoxing from Meloxicam

Being informed is the best way to help someone who is planning to stop taking meloxicam. By understanding the drug and its effects and available alternatives to the drug, a person can plan their safe withdrawal with confidence. As with any drug, consulting a physician prior to discontinuation is wise.

Finding a Meloxicam Withdrawal and Detox Center

It generally isn’t necessary to attend a drug withdrawal and detox center to withdraw from meloxicam. However, if meloxicam is part of a larger trend of substance misuse, contact The Recovery Village to speak with a representative about how substance use disorder treatment can work for you. Using individualized treatment plans that address addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders, The Recovery Village provides each patient with the treatment that will work best for their individual needs. Take a step toward a healthier future by calling today.

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Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

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Solomon, Daniel H. “Patient education: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (Beyond the Basics).“>Patient […]ight: 400;”>.” UpToDate, March 8, 2022. Accessed August 22, 2022.

 Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). “What is an inflammation?“>What is […]inflammation?”, February 22, 2018. Accessed August 22, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.