How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Nabumetone belongs to the group of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is used to reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.  This medication usually starts to work to relive pain within an hour, but it may take up to 1 week before you feel its full effect.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

This medication is available as 500 mg and 750 mg tablets.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of nabumetone ranges from 1,000 mg daily to 2,000 mg daily taken in 1 or 2 divided doses, with or without food. If this medication upsets your stomach, take it after a meal or with food or milk. Remain standing for 15 to 30 minutes after taking this medication. It is best to take nabumetone at the same time each day. The tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

This medication is available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms.  Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms listed here. The forms available for the specific brand you have searched are listed under “What form(s) does this medication come in?”

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to nabumetone or any ingredients of the medication
  • are currently taking other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, ketorolac)
  • have had an allergic reaction to ASA or other NSAIDs (e.g., asthma, itchy and runny nose, hives, or other allergic reactions)
  • have or have recently had inflammatory diseases of the stomach and intestines such as stomach or intestinal ulcer or ulcerative colitis
  • have complete or partial syndrome of nasal polyps
  • have severely reduced or worsening kidney function
  • have significantly reduced liver function or liver disease

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • abdominal or stomach cramps, pain, or discomfort (mild to moderate)
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • heartburn or indigestion
  • gas
  • nausea
  • tiredness
  • trouble sleeping

Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • any problem with urination such as difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • bladder pain
  • blurred vision or any change in vision
  • change in urine colour or odour
  • confusion
  • decreased hearing, any other change in hearing, or ringing or buzzing in ears
  • depression
  • dizziness frequent urge to urinate
  • fatigue
  • general feeling of being unwell
  • increased sun sensitivity
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in lower back or side (severe)
  • signs of liver damage (yellow skin or eyes, dark urine, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fever, and fatigue)
  • sudden, large increase or decrease in the amount of urine
  • swelling of the face, feet, or lower legs
  • vomiting or persistent indigestion, nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea
  • weakness

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • abdominal or stomach pain, cramping, or burning (severe)
  • chest pain
  • chills, fever, muscle aches or pains, or other flu-like symptoms, especially if they occur shortly before or with a skin rash
  • fast, irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • skin reactions such as hives, itching, blisters, burning, or peeling
  • shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or tightness in chest
  • signs of an allergic reaction (such as difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face or throat)
  • signs of bleeding (such as easy bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, vomiting blood, blood in the urine, dark tarry stools)
  • swelling or tenderness in upper abdominal or stomach area

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Allergic reactions: If you have had a reaction to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, ketoprofen, diclofenac) that included a runny nose, itchy skin rash, nasal polyps, or shortness of breath and wheezing, you should not take this medication. If you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing; wheezing; swelling of the face, tongue, or throat), get immediate medical attention.

Bladder symptoms: This medication can cause bladder symptoms such as frequent or painful urination and blood in urine. If you develop these symptoms, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor immediately.

Drowsiness and dizziness: This medication can cause drowsiness or dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery until you are sure that this medication does not affect your ability to do these safely.

Fluid and electrolyte balance: This medication can cause fluid retention. If you have heart failure, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions that increase your risk of fluid retention (e.g., kidney problems), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Nabumetone may also cause high blood potassium levels. If you are a senior; have diabetes or kidney failure; or are taking beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol, atenolol), angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., ramipril, enalapril), or some diuretics (e.g., triamterene, amiloride), you are more at risk of high blood potassium.

Infection: As with other anti-inflammatory medications, nabumetone may mask the usual signs of infection.

Kidney function: This medication can affect kidney function. You have a higher risk of developing kidney problems if you are a senior; take diuretics (water pills; e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide); or already have kidney disease, liver disease, or heart failure.

Your doctor may monitor your kidney function with blood tests if you take this medication. If you have kidney disease or reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Liver problems:  This medication may affect your liver function or cause liver problems. If you experience symptoms of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, feeling tired, yellowing of the skin or eyes) contact your doctor immediately. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Sun sensitivity: This medication may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight (including sunlamps) and may cause sunburn; skin blisters; and skin redness, itching, or discolouration. If you have a reaction from the sun while taking this medication, contact your doctor.

Ulcers and bleeding in the stomach and intestines: This medication can cause stomach ulcers, perforation (holes), and bleeding from the stomach. These complications can occur at any time without warning, and are sometimes severe enough to require immediate medical attention. The risk of ulcers and bleeding increases if you are taking higher doses of nabumetone for longer periods of time.

Other factors that increase the risk of these complications include drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, increased age, smoking, poor health,  H pylori infection, and taking certain medications (e.g., warfarin, ASA, clopidogrel, prednisone, citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline).

If you currently have ulcers in the stomach or intestines that are bleeding, or have an inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis), you should not take this medication. If you have a history of these conditions, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Stop taking the medication and get immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms or signs of stomach ulcers or bleeding in the stomach (black, tarry stools; blood in stools; stomach pain; vomiting blood or coffee grind material). These reactions can occur at any time during treatment without warning.

Vision: Blurred vision has occasionally been reported with the use of this medication. If this symptom develops, stop taking nabumetone and contact your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during the first 6 months of pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, stop taking it immediately and call your doctor. This medication should not be used during the last 3 months of pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: Taking this medication while breast-feeding is not recommended since the safety of doing so has not been established.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

Seniors: Seniors appear to have a higher risk of developing side effects from this medication.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between nabumetone and any of the following:

  • alcohol
  • anticoagulants (e.g., heparin, warfarin)
  • ASA
  • blood pressure medications (e.g., atenolol, ramipril, amlodipine)
  • carbamazepine
  • cholestyramine
  • colestipol
  • corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone)
  • cyclosporine
  • digoxin
  • diuretics (water pills; e.g., spironolactone, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
  • herbal products that affect blood clotting (e.g., cat's claw, chamomile, fenugreek, evening primrose, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginseng, turmeric)
  • lithium
  • methotrexate
  • other NSAIDs (e.g., naproxen, diclofenac)
  • pemetrexed
  • phenytoin
  • potassium supplements
  • probenecid
  • SSRI’s (e.g., paroxetine, citalopram, escitalopram)
  • sulfonylureas (e.g., gliclazide, glyburide)

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.