Safety of meloxicam in patients with aspirin/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced urticaria and angioedema


Sevim Bavbek, M.D., Angora Evleri, Buluşmalar cad. C1-2A, Beysukent, Ankara, Turkey. Email:


It has been proposed that aspirin (ASA) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced urticaria (UR)/angioedema (AE) are mediated through inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) enzymes. Therefore, drugs with COX-2 selectivity may be well tolerated in such patients. We investigated the safety of preferential COX-2 inhibitor meloxicam in subjects with UR or AE type intolerance reaction to classical ASA/NSAIDs. Subjects with reliable or documented history of UR/AE due to classical ASA/NSAIDs underwent a single-blinded, placebo-controlled oral challenge with a cumulative dose of 7.5 mg meloxicam on 2 separate days. One-quarter and three-quarter divided doses of placebo and the active drug were given at 1-h intervals. A total of 116 patients (86 women and 30 men, mean age 39.6 ± 12.7 years) were enrolled to the study. The rate of atopy was 25.9%. Mean duration of drug reaction was 87.4 ± 110.8 (1–720) months. Almost half of the patients were multi-reactors. The most comorbid disease was asthma and the two most frequent NSAIDs inducing UR/AE were paracetamol (19. 6%) and ASA (19%). No reaction to placebo was observed. Ten out of 116 patients (8.6%) developed mild UR/AE, or only erythema and pruritus at a one-quarter or cumulative dose of 7.5 mg of meloxicam. The remaining subjects (91.4%) tolerated perfectly meloxicam challenge. This study indicates that 7.5 mg meloxicam is a safe alternative for ASA/NSAID-intolerant UR/AE patients. Intolerance reactions to meloxicam are much milder forms of the patients’ historical ASA/NSAID-induced cutaneous reactions.