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15mg Meloxicam Equals How Much Ibuprofen? Dosage, Facts, and Effects

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., M.S.

Last medically reviewed May 20, 2024

15mg Meloxicam Equals How Much Ibuprofen?

Key Points

  • Meloxicam and ibuprofen are both NSAID medications that block pain-signaling hormones.
  • Ibuprofen is often obtained over the counter but is also available via prescription in higher doses.
  • Meloxicam is only obtained via prescription and is a long-acting NSAID taken only once per day.
  • Due to the differences in dosage and administration, it's impossible to draw a direct comparison.
  • The maximum concentration for Meloxicam occurs within 5 to 6 hours and provides 24 hours of relief.
  • The commonly recommended doses of ibuprofen for adults are 200-400 mg every 4-6 hours as needed, with a maximum over-the-counter daily limit of 1200 mg. However, higher doses of up to 3200 mg per day may be prescribed by healthcare professionals for certain conditions.

15mg Meloxicam Equals How Much Ibuprofen?

The doses for Meloxicam vary widely from the doses for ibuprofen (both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs), which are not directly interchangeable. However, in most cases, Meloxicam should be taken once daily, whereas ibuprofen can be administered every few hours, depending on the dose.

Drug Facts for Meloxicam and Ibuprofen

While both drugs are nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Meloxicam is prescribed, and ibuprofen can be obtained over the counter.

What is meloxicam?

Meloxicam is a long-acting NSAID (available under the brand name Mobic) that is available via prescription only. It is a potent cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor that blocks prostaglandins, compounds that cause pain and inflammation.[1]

What are the clinical uses and doses of meloxicam?

Meloxicam is primarily administered to treat chronic arthritis but may also be used to manage pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness caused by the following conditions:[2]

  • Osteoarthritis (joint pain)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Moderate or severe pain

The potent NSAID is available in 7.5 and 15 mg doses, with only one recommended daily dose. The most common form is tablets, but it also comes in capsules, suspension, and disintegrating tablets.

What are meloxicam’s side effects?

The most common side effects of meloxicam use include diarrhea, gas, heartburn, and indigestion. Some less common side effects include:[3]

  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Face swelling or puffiness
  • Yellow tint to eyes or skin
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Severe sunburn
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness
  • Chest tightness or discomfort
  • Stomach bloating or pain
  • Skin blisters or sensitivity to sunlight
  • Loss of appetite

If you experience these less common side effects, consult your healthcare provider immediately.

What is ibuprofen?

What is Ibuprofen?

Like meloxicam, ibuprofen is also an NSAID sold under the brand names Advil and Motrin. ibuprofen is available over the counter (OTC) and via prescription in higher doses. This NSAID drug works similarly to meloxicam by blocking pain-signaling enzymes to reduce the experience of pain. [4]

What are the clinical uses and doses for ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is taken or prescribed to treat:[5]

  • Inflammation
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)

Over-the-counter options for ibuprofen are typically 200 mg per tablet, and the usual dose is 200-400 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed.[6] This NSAID is available in larger doses and longer-acting formulas via prescription and should not exceed 1200 mg daily for OTC drugs and 3200 mg daily for prescriptions.

Ibuprofen Side Effects

While it should alleviate pain symptoms, ibuprofen is associated with several adverse effects, including:[7]

  • Bleeding
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Rashes
  • Liver damage (rare)
  • Hypertension
  • Possible kidney damage

Is ibuprofen or meloxicam better for pain?

The effectiveness of any medication will vary from person to person. Your experience will depend on the severity of your pain, medical history, overall health, and other factors. However, some studies have shown that they may be equally effective.

In a double-blind, randomized clinical trial, 7.5 mg of meloxicam, 650 mg of acetaminophen, and 400 mg of ibuprofen were compared to determine their efficacy in reducing post-op dental pain. The results indicated no significant difference in pain perception.[8] This indicated that the effectiveness of all three drugs was equivalent.

What are the primary differences between Mobic (meloxicam) and ibuprofen?

The primary difference between these two NSAID medications is that meloxicam is a long-acting drug taken once per day, while ibuprofen is an over-the-counter drug taken as needed. Extended-release forms of ibuprofen are available but also require a prescription.

Additionally, meloxicam carries an increased risk of gastric or cardiac issues.[9] The FDA has also approved ibuprofen to treat a wider range of pain or inflammatory conditions, whereas meloxicam is primarily for arthritic conditions.

15 mg meloxicam equals how much ibuprofen? [CHART]

It’s impossible to draw a direct correlation when comparing meloxicam vs ibuprofen. They are available in different doses and are administered on different timelines, as seen here in this meloxicam vs. ibuprofen chart:[10][11]

Drug

Doses

Available Forms

Timeline

Meloxicam
  • 5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 7.5 mg/5 mL
  • 7.5 mg
  • 15 mg
  • Intravenous (IV)
  • Oral capsule
  • Oral suspension
  • Oral tablet
  • Once daily
  • Maximum concentration in 5-6 hours, relief up to 24 hours
Ibuprofen
  • 100 mg/5 mL
  • 800 mg
  • 300 mg
  • 600 mg
  • 400 mg
  • 200 mg
  • 50 mg/1.25 mL
  • 50 mg
  • 100 mg (as lysine)
  • 10 mg/mL
  • 100 mg/mL
  • 800 mg/200 mL
  • Oral capsule
  • Oral suspension
  • Oral tablet
  • 200 to 400 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed
  • Maximum dose: 3200 mg/day for prescription dose and 1200 mg/day for OTC

Meloxicam Drug Interactions

Several other drugs and substances are not recommended to mix with NSAIDs, including meloxicam.

Can you take meloxicam with ibuprofen?

Both medications are NSAIDs, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues. It is not recommended to mix two drugs of the same type at the same time, including meloxicam and ibuprofen. When considering the use of multiple NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and meloxicam, it is generally recommended to avoid concurrent use altogether. If there is a need to switch from one NSAID to another, consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

These are general recommendations and are not to be taken as medical advice. Always consult your primary care provider before mixing, changing, or adding to your medication routine. 

Can I take meloxicam and Aleve or Tylenol together?

Mixing NSAIDs, such as Aleve (naproxen) and meloxicam, is generally not recommended due to the increased risk of side effects. However, acetaminophen (Tylenol) works differently from NSAIDs and may be used in conjunction with an NSAID like meloxicam for enhanced pain relief, subject to medical advice.

Can I use meloxicam and ibuprofen with alcohol?

No, it is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking meloxicam.[13] Like NSAIDs, alcohol can contribute to or increase the risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding. Consult your physician to determine the best course of action based on your medical history, pain, and overall health.

Get Help For Prescription Misuse and Substance Use Disorder

Whether you’re struggling with meloxicam abuse, painkillers, or any other substance, you can recover from this toxic cycle. Professional treatment, therapy, community, and support are just some interventions that can help you restore your life and body to health and wellness.

Reach out today for yourself or a loved one. We’d love to point you toward additional helpful resources or connect with you directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is stronger 800 mg ibuprofen or 15 mg meloxicam?

The OTC 200-400 mg of ibuprofen is taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed, whereas Meloxicam is once daily. Meloxicam is also only available by prescription.

Therefore, Meloxicam is generally believed to be the stronger medication. However, the above medical study revealed that acetaminophen and meloxicam have similar effectiveness in pain relief. What works better for you will vary based on your medical history, the type of pain you experience, and what your doctor recommends.

Is it OK to take 2 meloxicam 15 mg?

It is only recommended to take one dose of Meloxicam daily, regardless of the dose amount. Having more of the NSAID in your system may lead to increased or worsening side effects or other complications. Always take medications as directed or prescribed, and consult your physician before making any medication changes.

How many milligrams of ibuprofen are equivalent to 15 mg of meloxicam for pain relief?

The doses for ibuprofen and meloxicam are not directly interchangeable. They are both NSAIDs, but their formulations are different. Always take all medications, prescription or OTC, as directed or prescribed.

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Sources

[1][2]U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020a, January 10). Meloxicam. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548278/

[3]Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2024c, March 1). Meloxicam (oral route) side effects. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/meloxicam-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20066928?p=1

[4][5][7]Ngo, V. T. H. (2023, May 29). Ibuprofen. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542299/

[6][11]Ibuprofen Dosage Guide + max dose, adjustments. Drugs.com. (n.d.-d). https://www.drugs.com/dosage/ibuprofen.html

[8]Bekker, A., Kloepping, C., & Collingwood, S. (2018). Meloxicam in the management of post-operative pain: Narrative review. Journal of anaesthesiology, clinical pharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6360894/

[9]Meloxicam vs Ibuprofen, what’s the difference? Drugs.com. (n.d.-e). https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/difference-between-meloxicam-ibuprofen-3504403/

[10]Meloxicam uses, dosage, side effects & warnings. Drugs.com. (n.d.-e). https://www.drugs.com/meloxicam.html

[12]How long do I wait after taking ibuprofen to take meloxicam?. Drugs.com. (n.d.-d). https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/long-wait-after-taking-400-mg-ibuprofen-15-mg-3141935/

[13]Meloxicam and alcohol/food interactions. Drugs.com. (n.d.-g). https://www.drugs.com/food-interactions/meloxicam.html