Taking Hydrocodone With Meloxicam

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not hydrocodone can safely be taken with meloxicam.


Can you take hydrocodone and meloxicam with each other?

Asked by Silvia On Sep 26, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Sep 26, 2022
Last updated Sep 26, 2022

Key points

  • There is no known drug interaction between hydrocodone and meloxicam.
  • Studies show that NSAIDs, like meloxicam, may reduce the need for opioids for the treatment of pain after surgery.

There is no drug interaction between hydrocodone and meloxicam. They work via different mechanisms of action and can safely be taken together.

However, it would make sense to allow the meloxicam time to work prior to taking hydrocodone (or vice versa) unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Studies show that NSAIDs, like meloxicam, can oftentimes provide adequate pain relief after surgery so an opioid like hydrocodone may not be necessary. NSAIDs have also been shown to reduce the overall need for opioids after surgery (i.e. patients who have used an NSAID first generally requires fewer opioids for acute pain relief).

As hydrocodone is a controlled substance, has a number of potential side effects and the risk of dependency, it should only be taken if absolutely necessary, at the lowest dose, for the shortest period of time. Meloxicam may reduce the need to have to take it.

What Is Meloxicam?

Meloxicam (Mobic) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by inhibiting an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase or COX.

The COX enzymes play a significant role in prostaglandin formation which is responsible for inflammation, platelet formation, and fever. There are two types of COX, known as COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 has a more prominent role in platelet formation, as well as protecting the stomach lining. COX-2 is primarily responsible for inflammation.

Meloxicam inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2 but is slightly more selective for COX-2, which may reduce the risk of stomach-related side effects compared to other NSAIDs that are not selective.

What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a controlled substance pain medication that typically comes as a combination tablet with acetaminophen (Norco). Hydrocodone and ibuprofen are also found in a combination tablet known as Vicoprofen. This is used much less frequently than Norco.

Norco should start working in about 30 minutes and should reach peak effect in about 90 minutes. Overall, Norco treats pain for about 3-4 hours. Meloxicam takes about 4-5 hours to reach peak concentration and is usually only used once a day at a maximum dose of 15 mg.  

In order to avoid untoward effects like addiction, constipation, and respiratory depression, the lowest dose for the shortest duration is generally recommended when taking Norco and other opioids.

Meloxicam With Hydrocodone

As mentioned, there is no interaction between these drugs.

If the pain is mild, meloxicam may be a good option instead of taking a dose of a drug containing hydrocodone but if both are needed together, they are safe to combine.


  • Efficacy of non-opioid analgesics to control postoperative pain: a network meta-analysis, PubMed
  • Hydrocodone Monograph, PubChem
  • Meloxicam Monograph, PubChem

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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