Substances | 4 min read

15 mg Meloxicam Equals How Much Ibuprofen? A Side-By-Side Comparison

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On March 25, 2024

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On March 25, 2024

15 mg Meloxicam Equals How Much Ibuprofen

What you will learn

  • Meloxicam and ibuprofen are both commonly used for pain relief and inflammation, but they have distinct properties and mechanisms of action.
  • Misusing any medication, whether over the counter or prescription, can lead to serious health consequences, emphasizing the importance of responsible medication use.
  • Meloxicam is a prescription NSAID used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness associated with conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Ibuprofen, available over the counter, is also an NSAID used for pain relief, fever reduction, and inflammation reduction in various conditions such as headaches, muscle aches, and arthritis.
  • Comparing meloxicam to ibuprofen involves considerations of potency, duration of action, individual response, and potential side effects, with differences in recommended uses for each medication.
  • As with all medications, both meloxicam and ibuprofen may have side effects, and the misuse or overuse of either medication can lead to several adverse effects as well.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Meloxicam and ibuprofen are two commonly used pain relievers. While both serve similar purposes in alleviating discomfort and reducing inflammation, it’s essential to recognize that they are distinct medications with unique properties.

Misusing any medication, whether it’s obtained over the counter or through a prescription, can lead to serious health consequences. Understanding the differences between these medications and using them responsibly is vital for safe and effective pain management.

What is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that relieves pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness.[1] It belongs to the class of NSAIDs known as oxicams.

Meloxicam is only available via prescription and reduces the production of substances in the body that cause inflammation and pain. It is available in various formulations, including tablets, capsules, and oral suspension, and is typically taken once daily.

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is also an NSAID commonly used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lower fever.[2] Brand names include Motrin and Advil. It works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, chemicals in the body that promote inflammation, pain, and fever.

Ibuprofen is widely available over the counter and also in prescription-strength formulations. It can be found in various forms, including tablets, capsules, oral suspensions, and topical gels. Ibuprofen is commonly used to treat conditions such as headaches, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, toothaches, arthritis, and minor injuries.

How Do Meloxicam and Ibuprofen Compare?

Comparing the effectiveness of meloxicam to ibuprofen in relieving pain and inflammation involves several factors:[3]

  • Potency and Dosing Equivalence: While meloxicam and ibuprofen are both NSAIDs, their potency and dosing recommendations differ due to their pharmacological profiles. Directly comparing the potency of meloxicam to ibuprofen is challenging because they are used at different dosages for their respective indications. Generally, 15 mg of meloxicam is considered a typical daily dose, whereas ibuprofen is often used at doses of 400-800 mg up to three times a day for adults. This reflects differences in their pharmacokinetics and recommended dosing schedules rather than a straightforward potency comparison.
  • The duration of action: Meloxicam typically has a longer action duration than ibuprofen. Meloxicam is usually taken once daily, whereas ibuprofen may need to be taken multiple times throughout the day to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Your pain and inflammation relief: Both meloxicam and ibuprofen effectively reduce pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, individual responses to these medications may vary. Some people may find one medication more effective for their specific condition.
  • Side effects: Both meloxicam and ibuprofen can cause side effects such as gastrointestinal irritation, stomach ulcers, and increased risk of cardiovascular events. The risk and severity of these side effects may vary between individuals and can be influenced by dosage, duration of use, and underlying health conditions.
  • Your individual response: Ultimately, the choice between meloxicam and ibuprofen depends on individual factors such as the severity of pain and inflammation, medical history, and tolerance to side effects. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate medication and dosage for your specific needs.

What are the Recommended Uses for Meloxicam and Ibuprofen?

Meloxicam vs Ibuprofen

While meloxicam and ibuprofen are both NSAIDs, they may be recommended for different conditions and situations:

Recommended uses for Meloxicam include:[4]

  • Osteoarthritis: Meloxicam is often prescribed to relieve pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: It may also be used to manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder affecting the joints.
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Meloxicam may be prescribed for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children 2 years and older.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: Meloxicam can help alleviate pain and inflammation in ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis affecting the spine.
  • Pain Management: It may also be used for short-term pain relief, such as mild to moderate musculoskeletal pain, back pain, menstrual cramps, or dental pain.

Recommended uses for Ibuprofen include:[5]

  • Pain Relief: Ibuprofen is commonly used to relieve various types of pain, including headache, toothache, menstrual cramps, muscle aches, and minor injuries.
  • Fever Reduction: It also effectively lowers fever caused by infections or other factors.
  • Inflammation Reduction: Ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and other inflammatory disorders.
  • Minor Injuries: It may alleviate pain and swelling caused by minor injuries such as sprains, strains, or bruises.
  • Migraine Headaches: Ibuprofen is sometimes used to relieve the pain associated with migraine headaches, either alone or in combination with other medications.

15 mg Meloxicam Equals How Much Ibuprofen? What’s The Dosage Comparison?

It’s inaccurate to directly convert doses between meloxicam and ibuprofen due to their distinct pharmacological profiles and effects on the body. Meloxicam, typically prescribed at 7.5 mg to 15 mg once daily, has a different mechanism and duration of action compared to ibuprofen, which is often taken at doses of 400 mg to 800 mg up to three times a day for adults. These differences reflect unique drug characteristics and intended uses, making a direct dosage comparison or conversion inappropriate without clinical context. When considering transitioning between these medications or understanding their dosage equivalency, consulting with a healthcare professional is essential for safe and effective treatment planning.[6]

More Than Common Side Effects: What Can Happen if Meloxicam or Ibuprofen Are Misused?

Misuse or overuse of meloxicam or ibuprofen can lead to various serious side effects and complications:[7]

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Misuse of meloxicam can increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems such as stomach pain, stomach ulcers, bleeding, and perforation.
  • Cardiovascular Events: Long-term or high-dose use of meloxicam may put one at higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular events, especially in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.
  • Kidney Problems: Prolonged use of meloxicam, particularly in high doses, can lead to kidney damage or impaired kidney function.
  • Hypertension: Meloxicam may cause or worsen high blood pressure in some individuals.
  • Allergic Reactions: Misuse of meloxicam can result in allergic reactions such as skin rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

In addition to these potential complications, both meloxicam and ibuprofen can interact with other medications, leading to adverse effects or reduced effectiveness. It’s crucial to use these medications exactly as a healthcare professional directs and to avoid exceeding recommended dosages or duration of use.

Help is Available

If you or someone you know is struggling with medication misuse or addiction (or with any potential dual diagnosis or co-occurring issues), it’s important to seek help and support. You are not alone in your journey, and resources are available to assist you in overcoming these challenges.

Contact a trusted healthcare professional, counselor, or support group for guidance and support tailored to your specific needs. Taking the first step towards recovery is courageous, and assistance is available to help you reclaim control of your health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions about Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

Can I take meloxicam and ibuprofen together?

It’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional before taking Meloxicam and ibuprofen together. Both medications belong to the same class of drugs, and taking them together can increase the risk of side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage.

Are meloxicam and ibuprofen addictive?

Meloxicam and ibuprofen are not typically considered addictive when used as directed. However, they can be habit-forming if misused or taken in higher doses than recommended. It’s essential to use these medications exactly as prescribed or directed to minimize the risk of dependency.

Can I drink alcohol while taking meloxicam or ibuprofen?

Drinking alcohol while taking meloxicam or ibuprofen can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and other side effects. It’s generally recommended to avoid or limit alcohol consumption while using these medications. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice based on your medical history and current health status.

Are meloxicam and ibuprofen safe for long-term use?

Both meloxicam and ibuprofen can be used for the long-term management of chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis under the guidance of a healthcare professional. However, long-term use may increase the risk of side effects, particularly gastrointestinal issues and cardiovascular events. Regular monitoring by a healthcare provider is essential for safe long-term use.

Are there any differences in effectiveness between brand-name and generic versions of meloxicam and ibuprofen?

Generic versions of both medications contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts and are regulated by the FDA to ensure safety and effectiveness. In most cases, generic versions are considered equally effective as brand-name medications. However, individual responses may vary, and some people may prefer one formulation over another due to differences in inactive ingredients or pill characteristics.

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Amanda Stevens


Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. Read more

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[1] Meloxicam (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names – Mayo Clinic. (n.d.).

[2] MedlinePlus. (2022). Ibuprofen.

[3] Shantiaee, Y., Javaheri, S., Movahhedian, A., Eslami, S., & Dianat, O. (2017). Efficacy of preoperative ibuprofen and meloxicam on the success rate of inferior alveolar nerve block for teeth with irreversible pulpitis. International Dental Journal, 67(2), 85–90.

[4] Meloxicam: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.).

[5] Trung, V., & Bajaj, T. (2023, May 29). Ibuprofen.; StatPearls Publishing.

[6] Chou, R., McDonagh, M. S., Nakamoto, E., & Griffin, J. (2011, October 1). Comparable NSAID Dose Levels*.; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

[7] Davis, A., & Robson, J. (2016). The dangers of NSAIDs: look both ways. British Journal of General Practice, 66(645), 172–173.