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Etodolac (Lodine) belongs to a class of medications commonly called NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is prescribed for the management of pain and is also used both for short-term and long-term treatment of arthritis.

Pain relief begins within 30 minutes of taking Lodine and lasts 4 hours or more (up to 12 hours in a few patients).

Side Effects and Interactions

Unquestionably the most common side effects of Lodine involve the gastrointestinal tract. They include indigestion, cramps, diarrhea, gas, nausea and constipation.

Some people may develop ulcers and intestinal bleeding while taking Lodine. Occasionally these problems can occur without obvious symptoms and lead to a life-threatening crisis due to perforation of the stomach lining.

Older people appear to be more susceptible to this problem and should be monitored carefully. Warning signs include weight loss, persistent indigestion, a feeling of fullness after moderate meals, dark or tarry stools, anemia and unusual fatigue.

Home stool tests such as Hemoccult or Fleet Detecatest may provide an early indication of bleeding.

Other side effects to be alert for include fatigue, dizziness, nervousness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, rash, itching, fluid retention, frequent urination, sensitivity to sunlight leading to sunburn and chills or fever.

Drowsiness or insomnia are possible, so do not drive if you become impaired. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Lodine can affect both the kidney and liver, so periodic blood tests to monitor the function of these organs are important for anyone on this drug long-term.

This medication may interact adversely with certain other drugs. A person taking a blood thinner like Coumadin may become more vulnerable to a dangerous bleeding ulcer.

Aspirin may interfere with Lodine’s effectiveness for reducing inflammation, although data on this point are not clear.

All the NSAIDs, including Lodine, can make methotrexate (Folex, Mexate, Rheumatrex), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, etc.) and Lanoxin far more toxic.

When Lodine is combined with Sandimmune the risk of kidney damage is increased. Lodine is still a relatively new drug and more interactions may become apparent as clinical experience accumulates. Ask your doctor and pharmacist to check whether Lodine interacts with any other drugs you take.

Special Precautions

People who are allergic to aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory agents should avoid Lodine.

Signs of allergy include breathing difficulties, rash, fever, or a sudden drop in blood pressure and require immediate medical attention.

Taking the Medicine

Taking Lodine with an antacid or a meal may help reduce possible stomach irritation. This will, however, decrease the peak concentration of Lodine in the body and may delay the onset of pain relief

Taking an NSAID with food does not guarantee that the drug will be safe for the stomach.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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