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Meloxicam and Breastfeeding

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  • Meloxicam and Breastfeeding


    I was recently diagnosed with hip osteoarthritis and prescribed meloxicam 7.5mg to treat my pain and stiffness. My doctor said it is not breastfeeding safe, but indicated this is the recommendation because not enough studies have been done. I'm wondering if there is any evidence out there? If it is unsafe are there other prescription NSAIDs that would be safe for me to use? I've been breastfeeding 7.5 months and would really like to make it to one year if possible.

    Thank you for the help!

  • #2
    Hi, thanks for your post.

    I'm sorry, but there are still no human studies available about how meloxicam behaves in the breastmilk. Rat and cow studies show that it definitely gets into milk, but to what extent that is clinically relevant is unclear.

    Ibuprofen is the safest and best studied of the NSAIDs with regard to breastfeeding. The daily maximum of ibuprofen is 3200 mg (16 pills), but you should consult with your doctor before you get anywhere close to that amount. All of the possible drugs that you could take for osteoarthritis will require a careful balance of potential risk to the baby and potential benefit to you. There is no clearly superior medication in this case.

    Please call us at the InfantRisk Center if you have any followup questions about specific medications. (806)352-2519

    -James Abbey, MD


    • #3
      Thanks James. Do you happen to know how quickly Meloxicam leaves the body? So let's say I'm having a bad pain day and take a 7.5mg pill. How long would it take before the drug is out of my system and my milk is safe again?


      • #4
        The half-life of Meloxicam is 20 hours. This means that half of what you take will be gone in that time, then half of what's left in another 20hrs, etc. 4-5 half-lives is the point at which most people agree that a drug is "basically gone." It is hard to say when your milk would be "safe again" because we really don't know to what extent it was unsafe in the first place. There are too many unknowns in the medical literature to answer that question satisfactorily.


        • #5

          hi. i'm in a similar boat and was prescribed meloxicam. from research, literature recommends peroxicam or Celebrex. I can't find any physicians in my area to talk with. everyone just googles the same things I do. can you make a recommendation to a substitute for meloxicam that is not ibuprofen?


          • #6

            The most straightforward substitution would be to use another NSAID. With the exception of ibuprofen, there are no "clear winners" in terms of pain control or breastfeeding safety within this drug class. Ibuprofen is regarded as the best choice because it is so extensively studied, although the entire drug class carries about the same theoretical risk to the infant. Diclofenac, ketorolac, and celecoxib have a few published studies that support their safety in breastfeeding, the others have no data available.

            Please contact us again if you are prescribed a medication that is not on the list I linked at the top.

            -James Abbey, MD


            • #7
              I could be psyching myself out on this, I started taking meloxicam for psoriatic arthritis n it feels like my milk may be drying up. I've breastfed for nearly 10 months.