Can meloxicam cause drowsiness and headache?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are typically used for treating pain and inflammation linked to various conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Meloxicam, belonging to this category works by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body known to cause pain and inflammation. The drug is also used for treating menstrual cramps, gout, and other types of pain, although it is not recommended for long-term use or for treating acute pain. A common doubt among patients is regarding the possibility of a specific side effect – can meloxicam cause drowsiness and headache? Following subsections offer a detailed look at the drug, offering answers to the question.

What are the different forms of meloxicam?

The prescription only drug is available in different forms, including the following:

Mechanism of action of meloxicam

Meloxicam, as a NSAID works by blocking prostaglandins, chemicals that are produced naturally by the body in response to injury or inflammation. These chemicals are responsible for causing pain, swelling, and inflammation in the affected area, mainly as a response mechanism. Meloxicam inhibits the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX), an enzyme, responsible for producing prostaglandins. By inhibiting COX, meloxicam reduces the amount of prostaglandins produced, and consequently brings about reduction in pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Meloxicam specifically inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, responsible for producing prostaglandins that cause pain and inflammation, while sparing the COX-1 enzyme, responsible for producing prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining and regulate blood clotting. By selectively inhibiting COX-2, meloxicam is less likely to cause stomach ulcers and bleeding when compared with other non-selective NSAIDs.

Commonly reported side effects of meloxicam

All medications come with the possibility of undesirable effects, and Meloxicam is no exception. Commonly reported side effects of the prescription drug include the following:

In addition to the above, there is also the possibility of serious side effects of the drug, though the rate of occurrence is less and rare. For instance, other serious effects include the following:

It is important to seek medical attention if any of the above serious side effects are experienced while on meloxicam.

Can meloxicam cause drowsiness and headache?

The side effects for meloxicam do not specifically mention drowsiness. Contrastingly, meloxicam is known to cause insomnia in a section of users. Some patients may experience difficulty sleeping or changes in sleep patterns while on meloxicam. Healthcare experts may then modify the dosage or may replace the drug, if necessary. Meloxicam is known to cause headache as a potential side effect and this is not related to drowsiness.

Possible drug interactions of meloxicam

In addition to the above side effects, Meloxicam may also interact with other drugs, including the following:

Why do certain drugs cause drowsiness?

Certain drugs are known to cause drowsiness or may have sedative properties as a side effect because of the ability to affect the brain’s activity and neurotransmitter levels. Some drugs act as central nervous system depressants, slowing down brain activity and causing relaxation or sleepiness.

These drugs typically work by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows down neural activity. This may result in a reduction in anxiety, muscle tension, and pain, and can promote relaxation and sleep.

Other drugs may cause drowsiness by blocking the activity of neurotransmitters involved in arousal, wakefulness, or alertness. For example, antihistamines block the activity of histamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in wakefulness and alertness. When histamine activity is blocked, it can lead to drowsiness and sedation.

Some medications can also affect the levels of other neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine, which can in turn affect mood, energy levels, and sleep-wake cycles. For instance, antidepressant medications that increase levels of serotonin in the brain may cause drowsiness or sedation as a side effect. Certain medications are known to have an impact by causing drowsiness as the drugs are metabolized by the liver into active compounds with sedative effects. These compounds may accumulate in the body over time, resulting in drowsiness or fatigue.

Drowsiness or sedation can be a common side effect of many medications, including over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines and pain relievers, as well as prescription medications like antidepressants, opioids, and muscle relaxants. It is necessary to discuss with respective healthcare providers about side effects being experienced, so as to adjust the dosage and prescribe alternative medications with lesser side effects.

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