Mobic (meloxicam) is a prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat arthritis. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is an over-the-counter (OTC) painkilling medication that belongs to a different drug class.
Usually, Meloxicam and Tylenol can be taken at the same time without a problem, if needed. This may be suggested when NSAIDs are not enough to get rid of pain.
This article explains how these two medications compare to one another, why they can be taken together, and what risks each drug poses individually.
Meloxicam vs. Tylenol
Meloxicam and Tylenol are both used to treat pain, but they have a few differences. Meloxicam is an NSAID, while Tylenol belongs to a class of drugs known as analgesics. Tylenol doesn't reduce inflammation, but Meloxicam does.
Importantly, Tylenol is available over the counter without a prescription. Meloxicam is only available with a doctor's prescription.
Each medication also has different dosages. Meloxicam is given in doses of 7.5 milligrams (mg) or 15 mg.
Because it can last up to 24 hours, meloxicam is only taken once a day. Tylenol comes in a variety of strengths—from 325 mg for regular Tylenol up to 650 mg for Tylenol 8-Hour Arthritis Pain. The amount you take and how often you take Tylenol depends on the strength of the product.
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How They Help You Manage Pain
NSAIDs and acetaminophen work by targeting an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase (COX), which plays a role in inflammation. They differ in how and where they do this, however.
NSAIDs like Meloxicam relieve pain by blocking COX. By doing so, these drugs prevent inflammation and relieve some of the discomfort caused by arthritis.
Although researchers don't completely understand how acetaminophen works within the body, it's believed that it stops the formation of the COX enzyme in the central nervous system.
Meloxicam and Tylenol work equally well on pain. But meloxicam reduces inflammation in the body, and Tylenol does not.
Side Effects of Meloxicam and 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 dosage for each medication. 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:
- Loss of appetite
- 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 harmful health effects. They include:
- Lack of energy
- Stomach pain
- Bloody, black, or tarry stools
- Vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds
- Difficulty breathing
Too much of either medication can lead to liver damage. In the case of Tylenol, the liver breaks the drug down into separate parts. The parts that are used to help with pain are kept within the body.
Meanwhile, the parts that are not needed are excreted or passed out of the body in your urine. The unnecessary parts include toxic materials (known as N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine). If you consume too much Tylenol, the body cannot get rid of the toxic material fast enough. It builds up in the liver and causes liver damage.
When it comes to meloxicam, the cause of liver damage isn't clear, but it can still occur in very rare cases.
Pain Medications for Arthritis: Strongest to Weakest
If prescribed for pain, NSAIDs like meloxicam are typically meant to be taken for short periods of time. In fact, it's usually not used for more than 10 days in a row. There are times when your doctor will prescribe an NSAID to be taken for longer periods, but those are special circumstances that your doctor will outline for you.
NSAIDs like meloxicam can cause an increase in blood pressure. 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. In some instances, there's also an increased risk of these problems when you first start taking the medication. The chances of a serious reaction are greater if you have a pre-existing heart condition. However, a heart attack or stroke can occur even if you have no history of heart disease.
NSAIDs may also cause stomach and bowel disorders such as ulcers or stomach bleeding. The risk of developing these problems 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.
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Serious Side Effects
In some cases, serious side effects can occur while taking your regular dosage of meloxicam. The following symptoms should be addressed by your healthcare provider 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
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.
It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to Tylenol. Signs of an allergic reaction include skin reddening, blisters, and a rash. Avoid other medications containing acetaminophen when using Tylenol. You should also not take the medication for longer than 10 days for pain relief or three days for fever relief. Don't take more than 3g of acetaminophen per day (maximum recommended daily dose).
Before taking Tylenol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have liver disease or are taking Warfarin (blood-thinning medication). This drug should not be taken by children or teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms.
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The symptoms of liver toxicity caused 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
- 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.
Concerns About Tylenol Overdose or Poisoning
Tylenol, the brand name of acetaminophen, and meloxicam, a type of NSAID, can be taken together to relieve pain and other symptoms of arthritis. However, there are serious risks of liver damage, stomach disorders, kidney failure, and even death if you take too much of either medication.
Tylenol and meloxicam may seem harmless since they’re so commonly used. And, generally, they will only help if used appropriately, but it is possible to overdose. Problems are more likely if you take other forms of NSAIDs or acetaminophen with Tylenol and meloxicam. If you think you’ve taken too much of these drugs, call your doctor 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 before you start 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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