Is meloxicam an opioid?

Dr. Chatterjee is a board-certified interventional pain management specialist. He has spent over a decade walking patients through the complicated world of risky prescriptions at the Cleveland Clinic and Columbia Hospital.

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Medically reviewed by Neil Chatterjee, MD

Meloxicam is NOT an opioid.  Meloxicam (brand name Mobic) is a Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug, or NSAID. This places meloxicam under the same category of medications such as ibuprofen (brand name Advil) and naproxen (brand name Aleve). While it functions very similarly to Advil and Aleve, meloxicam is not available without a prescription.

Meloxicam is an NSAID, but more specifically it is a COX-2 inhibitor, an enzyme involved in the inflammatory process. This enzyme mediates the inflammatory process, while COX-1 has a role in prostaglandin synthesis in the stomach and kidneys. 

Unlike over-the-counter NSAIDs, meloxicam is a longer-acting form dosed once daily. Your doctor may choose meloxicam due to the simple dosing instructions compared to the multiple tablets required of over-the-counter NSAIDs. Your doctor may also prescribe meloxicam if a slightly stronger strength is needed. Mobic is the brand name most commonly used in the United States.

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