Can You Take Tylenol With Meloxicam?

Meloxicam (Mobic) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used either alone or with other medications to treat mild to moderate pain and inflammation in arthritis. Tylenol (acetaminophen), which is also used to treat pain in arthritis, is sometimes added to a regimen for managing pain that cannot be alleviated with an NSAID alone. These two medications are generally safe to be used together.

Close-up of woman sitting on edge of bed holding pills and glass of water

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How Meloxicam and Tylenol Are Different

Although both meloxicam and Tylenol are used to treat pain, they are different in a few ways. One is dosing. Meloxicam is a prescription medication that is taken once a day, whereas Tylenol can be purchased over the counter (OTC) and has varying dosage recommendations depending on the strength of the product.

They also belong to different drug classes and work differently. NSAIDs relieve pain by blocking an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase, or COX, that contributes to the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins play a role in the inflammatory response in the body, so when that production is blocked, inflammation and discomfort caused by the inflammatory response are relieved.

Tylenol is the brand name of acetaminophen and belongs to a class of drugs known as analgesics. Although there is still some debate on how Tylenol works within the body, it is suggested that it works by also blocking the formation of the COX enzyme in the central nervous system. The mechanism of action is different between NSAIDs and acetaminophen because of where they block the enzyme.

When it comes to their efficacy, meloxicam and Tylenol work equally well for pain. However, Tylenol cannot reduce inflammation in the body like meloxicam can.

Is It Safe to Take Meloxicam With Tylenol?

Taking meloxicam with Tylenol is safe because there are no known drug interactions between the two medications. However, it’s important to remember to follow the recommended daily dosing of both medications. If you go over the dosage of one or the other, dangerous side effects can occur.

Some side effects that can occur if you take too much Tylenol include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms

When it comes to meloxicam, taking too much can also cause some adverse health effects. They include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Too much of either medication can lead to liver toxicity. In the case of Tylenol, the liver is meant to break the drug down into separate parts. The parts that are used to help with pain are kept within the body, while the parts that are not needed, such as the toxic byproduct made by the metabolization of Tylenol, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine, are excreted through urine. If too much Tylenol is taken, that toxic byproduct made in the liver builds up because the liver cannot get rid of it fast enough, leading to liver damage.

When it comes to meloxicam, the cause for liver toxicity isn't clear, but it can still occur in very rare cases.

NSAID Warnings

If taken for pain, NSAIDs like meloxicam are typically meant for short-term use, such as a maximum duration of 10 days in a row. There are times when your doctor may prescribe an NSAID for longer, but those are special circumstances and your doctor will specify that to you.

Taking NSAIDs can increase the risk of both heart attacks and strokes. The risk is higher when the drug is taken at higher doses and over a long period of time, but it can also increase within the first few weeks of taking the medication. Although the chances of these adverse effects occurring are greater in those who have pre-existing heart conditions, it can occur even in those with no history of heart disease.

NSAIDs have also been shown to increase the risk of adverse effects on the stomach and bowel, such as ulcers or stomach bleeding. The risk of developing these adverse effects is higher in older adults, people who have a history of stomach ulcers, people who take blood thinners, those who drink alcohol daily, and those who are taking more than one prescription or OTC NSAID at a time.

When taking NSAIDs, only one type should be taken at a time. Taking two types of NSAIDs at the same time can increase the risk of adverse side effects such as liver toxicity and kidney failure.

Serious Side Effects

In some cases, serious side effects can occur while taking meloxicam. The following symptoms should be addressed by your doctor immediately:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as black stools, bloody or cloudy urine, severe stomach pain, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, changes in urination, unusual weight gain, or jaundice
  • Head problems such as blurred vision, ringing ears, sensitivity to light, excruciating headache, trouble speaking or thinking, or a change in balance
  • Fluid retention that appears as swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, ankles, feet, legs, or hands
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as rash or hives, red peeling skin, itching, or trouble breathing
  • Bruises or bleeding that cannot be explained
  • Chest issues such as pain, quickened or rapid heartbeat, and heart palpitations
  • Flu-like symptoms with acute fatigue
  • Excruciating back pain

Acetaminophen Warnings

Taking too much acetaminophen can lead to severe liver damage, especially if it is taken with other medications that can damage the liver. Consuming alcohol while taking acetaminophen also increases the risk of liver damage.

Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to Tylenol include skin reddening, blisters, and a rash. Those taking Tylenol should not mix it with other medications containing acetaminophen, nor should it be taken for longer than 10 days for pain relief and three days for fever relief. Do not take more than 3 grams of acetaminophen per day (maximum recommended daily dose).

Prior to taking Tylenol, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have liver disease or are taking Warfarin (blood-thinning medication). For children and teenagers, this drug should only be taken if they aren’t recovering from chicken-pox or flu-like symptoms.

Overdose

The symptoms of liver toxicity induced by a Tylenol overdose include jaundice or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, confusion, or liver failure. In some serious cases, liver damage can lead to death. Other symptoms that may be present if your liver is damaged from the overuse of acetaminophen are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dark urine and stools
  • Pale skin

If you experience any of these symptoms and believe you took too much Tylenol, seek medical care immediately.

A Word From Verywell

Pain relief is vital when it comes to living daily life as normal as possible with a chronic illness such as arthritis. Although it is generally safe to take meloxicam and Tylenol together, always consult with your doctor prior to starting any new medication to ensure that it is safe for you given your health and medication history. When used correctly, pain medications can help you get back to living your life as happily and healthily as possible.

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