Meloxicam (15 mg) Equals How Much Ibuprofen? Dosage Insights


Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Review by:

Dr. Po Chang Hsu MD, MS

Updated On: Mar 4, 2024
Last Medically Reviewed on: March 4, 2024
15mg Meloxicam equals how much Ibuprofen
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    Often used to treat pain and inflammation caused by conditions like arthritis, 15-mg meloxicam and ibuprofen are two common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These two drugs are in the same class and have the same mechanism of action, but there are some things to consider when deciding between them.

    Key Points

    • Meloxicam and ibuprofen are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat inflammation and pain.
    • These two medications have similar effects and risks, including possible side effects that involve the heart, kidneys, and stomach.
    • Meloxicam is only available by prescription, but ibuprofen comes in prescription and over-the-counter forms.

    Comparing Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

    Are these drugs interchangeable? While meloxicam and ibuprofen are both NSAIDs used to treat pain and inflammation, they are not directly interchangeable without considering dosage, individual health factors, and specific medical advice. The equivalence in dosing between meloxicam and ibuprofen varies and should be determined by a healthcare professional based on individual patient needs. Both medications are generally considered safer with less risk of abuse and addiction than opioids.

    Learn more about these medications, how they’re used, their benefits and side effects, and how to choose which one is right for you.

    What Is Meloxicam?

    Meloxicam (Mobic) is a prescription NSAID that’s in wide use. Over 9 million people take Meloxicam each year.[1]

    Meloxicam is a COX inhibitor, like many NSAIDs, and interferes with cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes to reduce the production of prostaglandins, which cause pain, fever, and inflammation. Though temporary, blocking prostaglandin production can provide short-term pain relief.

    This capability makes meloxicam an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic drug to address pain, swelling, and discomfort associated with inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s usually prescribed in a tablet or liquid suspension form.

    What Is Ibuprofen?

    Meloxicam and Ibuprofen as pain treatment

    Ibuprofen, under familiar brands like Motrin and Advil, is available as a prescription or over-the-counter medication. It may be used as the active ingredient in certain combination medications to treat premenstrual syndrome or cold and flu. Ibuprofen has been combined with non-opioid pain relievers for certain combination medications but is not typically an ingredient in opioid painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Instead, it may be combined with other medications, such as acetaminophen, for enhanced pain relief in non-opioid products.

    The mechanism of action for ibuprofen is like meloxicam. It’s an anti-inflammatory and analgesic medication that reduces prostaglandin production to temporarily relieve inflammation, pain, and fever.

    Prescription ibuprofen may be recommended for some types of pain, but ibuprofen is widely available in OTC forms to treat mild pain from arthritis, headache, menstrual cramps, and minor injuries.

    Ibuprofen is generally safe, inexpensive, well tolerated, and accessible, so it’s favored over other types of pain medications. Prescription forms hit the market in 1974, but OTC forms were on pharmacy shelves in 1984. It’s typically found in oral form in capsules and tablets, but liquid suspensions are also available.

    What’s the Standard Dosage of Meloxicam and Ibuprofen?

    Meloxicam and ibuprofen come in different dosages because their effects last for different periods of time. Though safe, it’s best to take the lowest effective dose of either medication to limit side effects.

    The adult dosages of meloxicam are:[2]

    • Capsules – 5 mg to 10 mg once daily.
    • Tablets – 7.5 mg to 15 mg once daily.
    • Liquid suspension – 7.5 mg to 15 mg (5 mL to 10 mL) once daily.

    The adult dosages of ibuprofen are:[3]

    • For arthritis, 400 mg to 800 mg should be taken 3 or 4 times daily.
    • For mild to moderate pain – 200 to 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
    • For menstrual cramps – 400 mg every 4 hours as needed.

    Unlike some medications, there’s no recommended period to take meloxicam or ibuprofen. With the drug, the lowest dose should be taken as needed to relieve pain.

    In clinical studies, meloxicam was safe for daily use for up to 6 months.[4] Prescription ibuprofen was shown to be safe for up to 1 year.[5] However, OTC ibuprofen should be taken for no more than 10 days.

    Meloxicam and Ibuprofen Side Effects

    Meloxicam and ibuprofen are NSAID pain relievers and COX inhibitors with similar side effects:[6]

    • Stomach discomfort
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Heartburn
    • Ringing in the ears
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Drowsiness
    • Itching

    More serious side effects of meloxicam and ibuprofen include:

    • Cloudy or discolored urine
    • Liver damage
    • Fluid buildup in the extremities
    • Allergic reactions with difficulty breathing and hives
    • Impaired kidney function
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Back pain

    Though rare, meloxicam and ibuprofen can cause heart attack, stroke, blood clots, gastric ulcers, and bleeding.

    Long-Term Risks of Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

    With long-term use, meloxicam and ibuprofen carry serious risks like organ damage and gastric ulcers. However, they don’t have the same risks.

    Ibuprofen is less likely to cause gastrointestinal bleeding, but both medications have this potential.[7] It’s not known why meloxicam is more likely to cause bleeding.

    Both medications can damage the heart. Long-term use of NSAIDs like meloxicam and ibuprofen increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke, particularly in people with heart problems or with high doses.

    All NSAIDs can cause kidney harm, particularly in people who have kidney problems. Liver damage is possible in people who have liver problems, but the general risk to the liver is low with both drugs.

    Overdose Risk of Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

    It’s possible to overdose meloxicam or ibuprofen, as well as any other NSAID. The overdose symptoms for both drugs include:[8]

    • Drowsiness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Lethargy
    • Stomach pain
    • Gastrointestinal bleeding
    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney or liver failure
    • Metabolic acidosis
    • Cardiac arrest
    • Coma

    NSAID overdoses require emergency medical attention. Medical care and support can stabilize the person and reduce the risk of complications. NSAID overdoses aren’t always fatal, but there is a potential for long-term, irreversible damage to the liver or kidneys.

    Abuse Potential of Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

    Unlike some pain medications, neither meloxicam nor ibuprofen are addictive drugs or controlled substances that are likely to lead to dependency. These drugs may be misused, however.

    Misuse isn’t with the intent of getting high, but it’s possible to take too much meloxicam or ibuprofen because the pain hasn’t responded to an appropriate dose. These drugs may be used in intentional overdoses as well.

    Ibuprofen itself does not produce euphoria, but it can be combined with drugs that do, such as codeine. These drugs have a risk of abuse.

    Meloxicam and Ibuprofen: Which Is Right for You?

    Meloxicam and ibuprofen are similar NSAID medications that can be used to treat occasional and chronic pain and inflammation. Though they have a similar mechanism of action, meloxicam is only available by prescription and taken at one dose a day – 15 mg – whereas ibuprofen is available in multiple forms and dosages.

    If you’re unsure which drug is right, discuss your options with your doctor. Your pain levels, medical history, and personal response to the medications determine which one is the best choice to relieve your pain.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Meloxicam Available Over the Counter? Chevron Down
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