Meloxicam vs Relafen

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For patients dealing with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, certain drugs that work to reduce inflammation and pain can help in managing symptoms. Meloxicam and Relafen are two such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are prescribed for these conditions. They each impact different enzymes in the body but both have pain-relieving effects in patients with inflammatory diseases. Meloxicam specifically inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), reducing the production of prostaglandins - chemicals responsible for inflammation, fever, and pain signals. Relafen, on the other hand, is a non-selective NSAID which inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes equally thereby providing relief from inflammation while also potentially causing more gastrointestinal side effects due to inhibition of protective stomach lining prostaglandins.

What is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam (generic name for Mobic) was introduced as a newer class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which represented a significant advancement from the older NSAID, Nabumetone (the generic name for Relafen). Meloxicam gained FDA approval in 2000. It works by suppressing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body, effectively providing longer-lasting relief. It is prescribed primarily for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to help alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions. Meloxicam has selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes with lesser influence on COX-1 enzymes, resulting in it having fewer gastrointestinal side effects than other NSAIDs like Relafen that have stronger effects on both these enzyme types.

What conditions is Meloxicam approved to treat?

Meloxicam is approved for the treatment of various pain and inflammatory conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder causing chronic inflammation in joints.
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (in patients two years or older), which refers to arthritis symptoms in children 16 years old or younger.

How does Meloxicam help with these illnesses?

Meloxicam helps to manage pain and inflammation by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, chemicals that contribute to inflammation and pain within your body. It does this by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which is involved in prostaglandin synthesis. Prostaglandins play a key role in the body's inflammatory response, and their overproduction can lead to conditions such as arthritis or acute injury. By reducing levels of these compounds, Meloxicam can alleviate symptoms linked with inflammation - like swelling, redness, heat and painful sensations. Like serotonin for depression management in Prozac’s case, managing prostaglandin levels is crucial when dealing with inflammatory responses; so through lowering prostaglandin levels efficiently, Meloxicam assists patients with controlling their condition and stabilizing their comfort level.

What is Relafen?

Relafen, also known as nabumetone, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that inhibits the production of prostaglandins – substances in the body responsible for pain and inflammation. It was first approved by the FDA in 1991. Unlike meloxicam, Relafen does not belong to the enolic acid group of NSAIDs but rather is classified as a naphthylalkanone which makes it unique among other NSAIDs. This structural difference leads to an altered side-effect profile compared to typical NSAIDs such as Meloxicam; in particular, it has been shown to cause less gastrointestinal upset and bleeding due its prodrug nature - it only becomes active once metabolized in the liver.

The effects of nabumetone can be beneficial for those suffering from conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis where inflammation plays a significant role. However, patients with existing liver disease should exercise caution when considering medications like Relafen due to its metabolism process.

What conditions is Relafen approved to treat?

Relafen (also known by its generic name nabumetone) is authorized for use in the treatment of:

  • Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease causing pain and stiffness
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that primarily causes inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues but can also affect other organs.

How does Relafen help with these illnesses?

Relafen, also known as nabumetone, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing the production of prostaglandins - hormone-like substances that can cause inflammation and pain in the body. Prostaglandins are produced within the body's cells by enzymes called cyclooxygenases (COX). Like meloxicam, Relafen inhibits these COX enzymes and thus lessens inflammation and relieves associated symptoms like swelling or stiffness. However, unlike meloxicam which selectively blocks COX-2 more than COX-1, Relafen does not have this selectivity. While it may increase risk for gastrointestinal side effects compared to COX-2 selective inhibitors like meloxicam, it could potentially offer greater effectiveness in relieving pain due to its broader action on both types of cyclooxygenase enzymes.

How effective are both Meloxicam and Relafen?

Both meloxicam and nabumetone (Relafen) have established histories of success in managing osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and they were approved by the FDA within a few years of each other. Since they act on different enzymes to exert anti-inflammatory effects, they may be prescribed under varying circumstances. The effectiveness of meloxicam and nabumetone in alleviating pain from arthritis was directly studied in several clinical trials; the two drugs exhibited similar efficacy in managing symptoms as well as having promising safety profiles.

A 2002 review suggested that meloxicam can effectively relieve pain starting from the first week of treatment, has a favorable side effect profile over many other NSAIDs due to less gastrointestinal toxicity, and is well-tolerated even among elderly populations who are more susceptible to adverse events from prolonged NSAID use. Further, there's notable evidence showcasing its effectiveness for both acute pain relief related to surgery or injury along with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.

On the other hand, a 2010 review indicated that nabumetone seems effective at reducing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but might be slightly less potent than some traditional NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Nonetheless, it is generally favored when gastrointestinal protection is desired because it appears to cause fewer gastric ulcers compared to most traditional NSAIDs owing to its unique mechanism requiring hepatic metabolism into an active form. Despite this benefit, co-prescription with gastroprotective agents or usage of alternate therapies should still be considered for high-risk patients.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Meloxicam typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Meloxicam typically range from 7.5–15 mg/day, but research suggests that 7.5 mg/day is usually enough to manage osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in many individuals. For the management of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children over two years old, they may be started on a dose as low as 0.125 mg/kg once daily up to a maximum dosage of 7.5mg per day. In any patient group, if there's no response after several weeks, the dosage can be cautiously increased by your healthcare provider but should not exceed the maximum daily limit which is set at 15 mg for adults or 7.5mg for children.

At what dose is Relafen typically prescribed?

Relafen, or nabumetone as it's also known, is typically started at a dosage of 1000 mg per day for the management of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This dose can be increased to a maximum daily dosage of 2000 mg if necessary, divided into two doses spaced evenly apart. It's important to note that the increase should only occur under medical supervision after a few weeks if there's no response to treatment at 1000 mg/day. The medication should always be taken with food or milk in order to avoid stomach upset.

What are the most common side effects for Meloxicam?

Some of the most commonly reported side effects of meloxicam, also known as Mobic, include:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Itching skin or rash
  • Swelling of arms, feet, hands, legs, or lower legs due to fluid retention (edema)
  • Unusual weight gain

On the other hand, Relafen (nabumetone) can cause:

  • Upset stomach and diarrhea
  • Mild heartburn or stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Skin itching or rash
  • Ringing in your ears.

Remember that while these are common side effects for both drugs respectively; not every individual will experience them. If any of these symptoms persist or worsen over time do consult with a healthcare professional.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Meloxicam?

While both Meloxicam and Relafen are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat pain, they do have potential side effects. In rare cases, these can be serious:

  • Signs of allergic reactions such as hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Indications of a severe skin reaction including fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling
  • Vision changes like blurred vision or seeing halos around lights; if coupled with eye pain or swelling it could indicate a serious condition
  • Heart-related complications: rapid heartbeats you might feel pounding in your chest leading to breathlessness and sudden dizziness — signs of possible cardiovascular issues.
  • Low sodium levels - symptoms include headache, confusion slurred speech and loss of coordination which may make you feel unsteady
  • Severe nervous system reactions such as stiff muscles coupled with high fever sweating confusion fast/uneven heartbeats tremors – any symptom that makes you feel faint should not be ignored.

If you experience any of these side effects after taking either Meloxicam or Relafen it's essential to immediately consult with your healthcare provider.

What are the most common side effects for Relafen?

Relafen, also known as Nabumetone, has a variety of side effects that users may experience:

  • Stomach upset or indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Heartburn or gastric irritation
  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Skin rash or itching
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Reduced appetite.

It's important to note that while these are potential side effects, not everyone taking Relafen will experience them. Always consult with your health care provider for personalized advice about medication.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Relafen?

Relafen, like many other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), generally has a safe profile but can occasionally cause serious side effects. Some of the potential adverse reactions to look out for include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swelling in your face or throat
  • Changes in vision such as blurred sight or seeing halos around lights
  • Chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, slurred speech - these could be signs of heart attack or stroke
  • Rapid weight gain with swelling in the hands and feet
  • Skin issues including rapid blistering and peeling skin rash that are often accompanied by fever and sore throat
  • Liver problems indicated by nausea, upper stomach pain, tiredness, loss of appetite or jaundice (yellowing) of the eyes/skin.

If you notice any of these symptoms after taking Relafen it's crucial to stop using it immediately and seek medical attention promptly.

Contraindications for Meloxicam and Relafen?

Both Meloxicam and Relafen, like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. If you notice any cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, or slurring of speech while taking these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

You should not take either Meloxicam or Relafen if you are allergic to aspirin or any other NSAID. Always inform your physician about all the medications you are currently taking; there can be potential interactions with blood thinners (like warfarin), certain antidepressants (SSRIs/SNRIs), diuretics and ACE inhibitors among others.

These NSAIDs could also cause stomach bleeding especially in older adults and those who have had ulcers or bleeding in the past. Regular use of alcohol and tobacco might further aggravate this side effect.

Moreover, both Meloxicam and Relafen mustn't be used immediately before or after a heart surgery known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

How much do Meloxicam and Relafen cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 60 tablets of Mobic (Meloxicam, 15 mg) averages around $380 which works out to $6.33/day.
  • The price for Relafen (Nabumetone, 500 mg), is about $350 for a supply of 60 tablets, working out to approximately $5.83/day.

Thus, if you are in the higher dosage range for Meloxicam (i.e., 15 mg/day or higher), then brand-name Relafen tends to be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you.

For the generic versions:

  • Meloxicam (7.5 -15 mg tablets) can be found in packs ranging from 30 capsules and above with approximate costs as low as $0.10 to $0.50 per day depending upon your dose and place you buy it from.
  • Nabumetone, having typical doses between 1,000 and 2,000mg daily can have costs ranging from around $0.25 up to just over $1/day again dependent on where it's purchased.

Both medications will cost significantly less if purchased generically rather than their branded counterparts.

Popularity of Meloxicam and Relafen

Meloxicam, both in its generic form and under brand names such as Mobic, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 19 million people in the US in 2018. Meloxicam accounted for around 13% of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescriptions in the country. This medication is commonly used for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Its usage has seen a steady increase since it came into use.

On the other hand, Nabumetone - with brand versions such as Relafen - had significantly fewer prescriptions compared to Meloxicam, with an estimated total of around 1 million users in the USA during that same year. In terms of NSAID prescriptions nationwide, nabumetone only accounts for approximately 1%. It's primarily used for symptoms related to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but is less popular than meloxicam due to factors such as cost-effectiveness and patient tolerance.


Meloxicam and Relafen (nabumetone) are two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that have both been widely used for managing arthritis-related pain, inflammation, swelling, and stiffness. They work by blocking the enzymes responsible for producing prostaglandins — substances in the body that cause inflammation.

While they share a common mode of action, there are differences between them. Meloxicam is generally prescribed once daily due to its long half-life while nabumetone may need to be taken twice daily.

Both medications are available as generic options which can provide cost savings especially beneficial to patients who must pay out of pocket. Just like most NSAIDs an adjustment period might be required when starting treatment with these drugs.

When it comes to side effects, both meloxicam and nabumetone are typically well-tolerated but they do carry risks similar to other NSAIDs such as gastrointestinal upset or bleeding. In rare cases, heart attack or stroke could occur if these medications are taken for a long period or if patient has pre-existing heart disease risk factors.

Patients should closely monitor any changes in their symptoms when using these medicines and seek medical help immediately if severe side effects develop such as chest pain or shortness of breath among others. As always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication regimen.