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Meloxicam vs Aleve (Naproxen) For Rheumatoid Arthritis – Uses & Differences

Meloxicam vs Aleve (Naproxen) For Rheumatoid Arthritis - Uses & Differences

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which occurs when the human body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues and joints, leading to inflammation and pain.

The symptoms of RA usually develop gradually over a few weeks, however, some cases can progress quickly over several days.

Common symptoms of RA include:

  • flu-like symptoms;
  • joint pain and swelling;
  • rheumatoid nodules;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • anemia;
  • irritability;
  • depression;
  • tiredness (fatigue);
  • stiffness.


The types of medicines recommended by your healthcare provider will depend on the severity of your signs and symptoms and how long you’ve had RA.

In addition, your healthcare provider may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It can help reduce inflammation in the joints as well as relieve pain.

But, NSAIDs will not stop RA from getting worse over time.

Here is a comparison of two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that are often prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis:


Found under the brand name of Mobic, meloxicam is a medication that is part of a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

It comes in three forms – oral capsule, oral tablet, and oral liquid suspension.


It is the brand name of the over-the-counter drug naproxen sodium.

It belongs to a class of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Some of its inactive ingredients include –  hypromellose, FD&C Blue No. 2, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, povidone, polyethylene glycol, talc, and titanium dioxide.


Meloxicam is used to treat swelling, tenderness, and pain caused by the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in suferrers 2 years of age or older.

Aleve is used for treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

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Mechanism of Action

Meloxicam works by reducing hormones which cause inflammation and pain in the human body.

Aleve works by reducing the levels of chemicals which are responsible for fever, pain, and inflammation in the body, called prostaglandins.

Side Effects


Common adverse events include:

  • mild skin rash;
  • sore throat;
  • stuffy nose;
  • headache;
  • nervousness;
  • dizziness;
  • excessive gas;
  • bloating;
  • diarrhea;
  • upset stomach.

Serious side effects include:

  • skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash;
  • problems with vision or balance;
  • burning in your eyes;
  • slurred speech;
  • swelling in your face or tongue;
  • muscle weakness;
  • severe tingling;
  • skin rash;
  • shortness of breath;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • clay-colored stools;
  • weakness;
  • dark urine;
  • loss of appetite;
  • chest pain;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • bloody or tarry stools;
  • nausea;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • rapid weight gain;
  • coughing up vomit that looks like coffee grounds.


Common adverse events include:

  • heartburn;
  • rash;
  • constipation;
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus);
  • diarrhea;
  • nausea;
  • abdominal pain;
  • headaches;
  • drowsiness;
  • dizziness.

Serious side effects include:

  • heart failure;
  • fluid retention (edema);
  • high blood pressure;
  • heart attack;
  • blood clots.



For rheumatoid arthritis, the usual recommended dose is 7.5 mg once per day.

Occasionally, some suferrers may receive additional benefit by increasing the dosage to 15 mg once per day.


The usual recommended dose for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis is 500 to 1000 mg every 12 hours.

Warnings & Precautions


Do not use this medication just before or after heart bypass surgery.

Also, to make sure you can safely take this nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these other conditions:

  • a seizure disorder, like epilepsy;
  • if you smoke tobacco;
  • polyps in your nose;
  • a history of stroke, heart attack, or blood clot;
  • asthma;
  • kidney disease;
  • a history of stomach ulcers;
  • high blood pressure;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • heart disease;
  • liver disease.
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It should be avoided by people with a history of hives, asthma attacks, or other allergic reactions to aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

More importantly, if aspirin is taken with Aleve, there may be a higher chance of developing stomach ulcers.

In addition, this medication may increase the risk of aseptic meningitis (an illness characterized by serious inflammation of the linings of the brain), particularly in individuals with mixed connective tissue disorders and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Drug Interactions

Both medical products may interact in a negative way with the following medications:

  • thiazide diuretics;
  • furosemide (Lasix);
  • cyclosporine;
  • anticoagulants;
  • aminoglycosides;
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
  • blood pressure medications;
  • lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith).


Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and consuming more than three alcoholic drinks a day may substantially increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers.

Is It Safe During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding?


It can pass into breast milk and may harm a breastfed baby.

Do not use this nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Taking this medication during the last 3 months of pregnancy may harm the developing fetus.

Tell your healthcare professional if you are pregnant while using this nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.


Do not use this nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for prolonged periods or after 31-32 weeks of gestation.

In addition, do not use this medication if you are breast-feeding a baby since it can pass into breast milk and may harm a breastfed infant.

Bottom Line – Meloxicam vs Aleve (Naproxen)

Meloxicam is a prescription medicine that is found under the brand name of Mobic.

It belongs to a family of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that work by stopping substances in the human body which cause pain and inflammation.

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It is prescribed to relieve the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Meloxicam works by blocking the enzymes responsible for making compounds which contribute to inflammation, called prostaglandins.

Aleve is the brand name of a medication whose active ingredient is naproxen sodium. It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is used to relieve pain due to arthritis and other types of pain.

According to studies, meloxicam is a promising treatment in RA, with efficacy comparable to Aleve. In addition, no stomach ulcers are seen in meloxicam patients. Therefore, due to a substantially lower incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, meloxicam has the advantage over Aleve for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.


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