Ibuprofen vs. meloxicam (Mobic) quick comparison of differences

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others) and meloxicam (Mobic) are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation.

Common side effects of meloxicam and ibuprofen that are similar include:

  • Rash
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn

Serious side effects of ibuprofen and meloxicam that are similar include fluid retention (edema), blood clots, heart attacks, high blood pressure (hypertension), and heart failure.

Both ibuprofen and meloxicam may interact with lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith), blood pressure medications, methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), aminoglycosides, anticoagulants, cyclosporine, furosemide (Lasix), and thiazide diuretics.

Taking ibuprofen, meloxicam, or other NSAIDs and consuming more than three alcoholic beverages per day may increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers.

Taking ibuprofen or meloxicam with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Meloxicam is available under the brand name Mobic. Brand names of ibuprofen include Advil, Children’s Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, and PediaCare Fever.

What is ibuprofen? What is meloxicam (Mobic)? How do they work?

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and meloxicam (Mobic) belong to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other members of this class include indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), and several others. These drugs are used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. NSAIDs work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals that are responsible for pain, fever, and inflammation. Ibuprofen and meloxicam block the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. Consequently, inflammation, pain, and fever are reduced.

What are the uses for ibuprofen vs. meloxicam?

Ibuprofen uses

Ibuprofen is used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation and fever caused by many and diverse diseases. It is used for treating menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Meloxicam uses

Meloxicam is used to treat tenderness, swelling, and pain caused by the inflammation of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in patients 2 years of age or older.

What are the side effects of ibuprofen vs. meloxicam?

Ibuprofen side effects

The most common side effects from ibuprofen are:

  • rash,
  • ringing in the ears,
  • headaches,
  • dizziness,
  • drowsiness,
  • abdominal pain,
  • nausea,
  • diarrhea,
  • constipation, and
  • heartburn.

NSAIDs reduce the ability of blood to clot and therefore increase bleeding after an injury.

Ibuprofen may cause ulceration of the stomach or intestine, and the ulcers may bleed. Sometimes, ulceration can occur without abdominal pain; and due to bleeding, the only signs or symptoms of an ulcer may be black, tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension).

Sometimes, ulceration can occur without abdominal pain, due to the bleeding, and the only signs or symptoms of an ulcer are:

  • black, tarry stools,
  • weakness, and
  • dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension).

NSAIDs reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys and impair function of the kidneys. The impairment is most likely to occur in patients who already have impaired function of the kidney or congestive heart failure, and use of NSAIDs in these patients should be cautious.

People who are allergic to other NSAIDs, including aspirin, should not use ibuprofen.

Individuals with asthma are more likely to experience allergic reactions to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs.

Other serious side effects associated with NSAIDs are:

  • fluid retention (edema),
  • blood clots,
  • heart attacks,
  • hypertension (high blood pressure), and
  • heart failure.

NSAIDs (except low- dose aspirin) may increase the risk of potentially fatal heart attacks, stroke, and related conditions in people with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. The increased risk of heart attack or stroke may occur as early as the first week of use and the risk may increase with longer use and is higher in patients who have underlying risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease. Therefore, NSAIDs should not be used for the treatment of pain resulting from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Meloxicam side effects

WARNING

Individuals who are allergic to NSAIDs may experience shortness of breath when given an NSAID. People with asthma also are at a higher risk for experiencing serious allergic reaction to NSAIDs. Individuals with a serious allergy to one NSAID are likely to experience a similar reaction to a different NSAID.

New onset or worsening of high blood pressure (hypertension) may occur. Blood pressure should be monitored closely during treatment.

Meloxicam may cause fluid retention and swelling (edema). It should be used cautiously in people with heart failure.

Meloxicam may reduce kidney function. Therefore, it should not be used in people with severe kidney failure. It should be used cautiously in the elderly, people with heart failure, liver dysfunction, and those taking diuretics, ACE-inhibitors, or angiotensin II antagonists.

Serious skin reactions such as exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens- Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) may occur without warning.

NSAIDs (except low dose aspirin) may increase the risk of potentially fatal heart attacks, stroke, and related conditions in people with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. The increased risk of heart attack or stroke may occur as early as the first week of use and the risk may increase with longer use and is higher in patients who have underlying risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease. Therefore, NSAIDs should not be used for the treatment of pain resulting from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Central nervous system effects including drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision may occur in patients who are taking an NSAIDs.

Common side effects with NSAIDs are related to the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • abdominal pain,
  • diarrhea, and
  • gas.

To prevent these common side effects, it is recommended that most NSAIDs be taken with food or milk. NSAIDs may cause ulcers in the stomach and/or small intestine. A few NSAIDs are designed to be less damaging to the stomach and small intestine, therefore; they may be taken with or without food. Meloxicam is an example of one of these NSAIDs, but nevertheless, it should be taken cautiously without food. NSAIDs have been associated with an increased risk of blood clots that can cause strokes and heart attacks. NSAIDs also may interfere with the function of the kidneys or injure the kidneys.

Other important side effects of meloxicam are:

  • headache,
  • fatigue related to anemia (low red blood cell count),
  • joint pain,
  • back pain,
  • insomnia,
  • itching,
  • skin rash,
  • bladder infection, and
  • upper respiratory tract infection.