Indomethacin is a fairly common NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). It’s not one of the big three over-the-counter NSAIDs – aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen – but it often prescribed for a number of conditions. Indomethacin also goes by the name indometacin

NSAIDs are extremely common drugs in pharmacies all over the world. They are commonly used as for a range of symptoms, most often pain, swelling and fever.  Click here for more information about NSAIDs.

Indomethacin Availability

Indomethacin in all dosages is exclusively a prescription medication. It shouldn’t be taken except under the advice of doctor and with a doctor’s supervision.

Indomethacin Dosage

Available in a variety of forms, this medication is typically taken orally. Oral capsules are either immediate release or extended release. Individual doses of the immediate release medications are usually 25 mg to 50 mg to a total daily dose of 150 mg to 200 mg. Longer release pills are typically 75 mg and taken once or twice a day.

Indomethacin may also be prescribed as a suppository (that is taken in the rectum instead of the mouth). These suppositories are typically 50 mg of active medicine and taken up to 4 times a day.

For certain conditions, indomethacin is prescribed to children direct to the bloodstream via IV. The exact dosage depends on the condition and the child’s weight. The dosage shouldn’t be over 200 mg a day, however, regardless of anything else used to calculate the dosage.

Common Uses of Indomethacin

Ankylosing Spondylitis – This is an arthritic condition that affects the spaces between the bones of the spine and between the spine and the pelvis. it also results in swelling and pain, like other forms of arthritis, but it can be helped with NSAIDs.

Bursitis – Bursae (or one bursa) are fluid-filled sacs found in most joints.  Bursitis is a swelling of these sacs leading to tenderness and pain in joints affected. The swelling and pain are often managed with NSAIDs, which could include indomethacin.

Gouty Arthritis – Also called acute gout, this problem is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints, leaving behind painful crystals of the compound. While not curing gout, NSAIDs like indomethacin are often used to treat the symptoms while the gout is cured with changes in lifestyle.

Osteoarthritis – This is when the cartilage that lubricates and pads the joints begins to break down.  Indomethacin is often used to treat the pain and swelling that follows.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – This is the painful swelling of joints, resulting in pain and stiffness. Treating it with indomethacin not only addresses the pain, but also helps reduce the swelling.

Tendinitis – This is a soft tissue injury to a tendon, the connective tissue that binds muscle to bone. Often sore and swollen, a variety of NSAIDs are used to treat tendinitis.

This is not a complete list of conditions treated with indomethacin. Certain rare problems like patent ductus arteriosus (an infant heart condition), Bartter syndrome (a kidney disorder), and Gitelman syndrome (also a kidney disorder).

Here is additional information about conditions treated with NSAIDs.

Indomethacin Side Effects

This medication shares many of the side effects of NSAIDs in general. An individual patient may be more or less sensitive to a given drug’s side effects, but any of the following side effects could be expected. These shouldn’t be considered serious unless they are either very intense or long-lasting.

  • difficulty with bowel movements (constipation)
  • too many or water bowel movement (diarrhea)
  • loss of balance or dizziness
  • desire to sleep or drowsiness
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • nausea and possibly vomiting
  • stomach discomfort or abdominal pain
  • tinnitus (ringing of the ears)

Rarely, other side-effects do appear.  If any of the following side effects appear, it’s important to see a doctor immediately.  They may be signs of stomach bleeding, intestinal bleeding, or an allergic reaction.

  • vomiting dark colored vomit (especially if it looks like coffee grounds)
  • bloody or black bowel movements
  • rash, hives, or otherwise itching skin
  • edema (swelling) of the hands, feet, face or tongue

NSAIDs in general are also known for causing certain adverse reactions if used for an extended period of time, especially at high doses. With the exception of aspirin, NSAIDs have been linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In some extreme cases, indomethacin has also been linked to kidney failure.

There is more information available here about the adverse effects of NSAIDs.

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