What Is Etodolac?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Etodolac is a prescription pain reliever that treats several forms of arthritis. It belongs to a class of medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and, as such, it carries some important warnings about how it may affect the gastrointestinal tract and the circulatory system. Certain medications or conditions may change the way the drug works or contraindicate its use. Additionally, some patients using etodolac will experience one or more of its numerous benign or serious side effects.

Etodolac is often used to treat various forms of arthritis.
Etodolac is often used to treat various forms of arthritis.

NSAIDs are helpful drugs because they reduce chemicals in the body that worsen pain, inflammation, and fever. There are many of these medications, and some, like ibuprofen, are accessible over the counter to treat minor pain or fever caused by a variety of conditions. Other drugs are more specific in action, as is the case with etodolac. It is mostly used to treat the joint pain associated with various types of arthritis, and its strength as compared to ibuprofen means most countries won’t sell the drug without a prescription.

Stronger non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs carry significant warnings about use. First, long-term use is linked to higher risk of ulcerations in the gastrointestinal tract. Etodolac and other NSAIDs are also associated with greater percentages of sudden heart attack or stroke. Again, this appears to occur most often in longer term users.

In addition to the serious warnings accompanying this medicine, it has a number of drug and medical condition contraindications. Generally, prescription NSAIDs are not advised for patients with a history of heart disease or gastrointestinal illness. No studies suggest that etodolac is safe for children or pregnant women. Moreover, allergies to NSAIDS, asthma, chronic smoking, and disease of the kidney or liver may contraindicate the drug or necessitate dosage adjustments.

Many other medications interact with etodolac. These include common drugs like aspirin, other NSAIDs, and antidepressants. Warfarin, ACE inhibitors, digoxin, and lithium may affect or be affected by this medication, too. Patients can prevent most drug interactions by providing physicians with a complete list of medications they use, prior to accepting new prescriptions.

Anyone contemplating the use of etodolac should gather information about its benign and severe side effects. Some examples of benign adverse reactions to the drug are stomach upset, mild rash, and nasal congestion. Alternately, patients might experience ringing sounds in the ears, dizziness, or blurred vision. These can be reported to doctors if they continue or worsen.

Serious adverse reactions, which require immediate medical attention, include severe allergy. This manifests as difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue. Patients should also watch for black stools, vomit containing blood, extreme stomach pain, and jaundice. Other medically urgent symptoms are chest pain, confusion, unusual bruising, and reduced urination.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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