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Lodine (generic name nambutone) belongs to a class of medications commonly called NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is prescribed for both short-term and long-term treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain relief begins relatively quickly, but the full benefits of Relafen’s ability to fight inflammation may take a week or two to set in.

Relafen is converted by the liver into the compound that actually provides relief.

Side Effects and Interactions

Unquestionably the most common side effects of Relafen involve the gastrointestinal tract.

They include diarrhea, indigestion and stomachache. Constipation, gas and nausea are not unusual. Some people may develop ulcers and intestinal bleeding while taking any NSAID.

Although Relafen may be somewhat less likely to cause such complications, the risk remains. 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 dizziness, headache, fatigue, rash, itching, fluid retention and ringing in the ears.

Less common complications include dry or sore mouth, vomiting, increased sweating, drowsiness, insomnia and nervousness.

Do not drive if you become impaired due to insomnia or sleepiness. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Relafen 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.

In clinical trials it was used successfully with gold, penicillamine and corticosteroids in treating rheumatoid arthritis, but this therapy should be supervised by an experienced physician.

A person taking a blood thinner like Coumadin may become more vulnerable to a dangerous bleeding ulcer.

Aspirin interferes with the effectiveness of other NSAIDs for reducing inflammation, although it is not clear whether this is true of Relafen.

Most NSAIDs can make methotrexate (Folex, Mexate, Rheumatrex), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, etc.) and Lanoxin far more toxic and this possibility should be considered for Relafen.

When Relafen is combined with Sandimmune the risk of kidney damage may be increased.

Relafen is still a relatively new drug and more interactions may become apparent as clinical experience accumulates.

Ask your doctor and pharmacist to check whether Relafen interacts with any other drugs you take.

Special Precautions

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

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

Taking the Medicine

Relafen may be taken with or without food, once or twice a day.

Taking Relafen with food may help reduce possible stomach irritation. This will increase the peak concentration in the blood stream by approximately one third and may speed the onset of pain relief slightly.

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

Relafen should be stored at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F in a tightly closed, light-resistant container.

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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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I have taken Relafen (1000 mg twice per day) for 20+ years for psoriatic arthritis. The anti-inflammatory action has been significant w/ no side effects whatsoever.

I have been taking Relafen for back pain on and off for about one month, following severe stomach pain from prescription ibuprophen. It definitely diminishes my back pain, but Relafen really makes me tired. I had only been taking it at night, but today the pain was horrible, so I took a pill mid-morning. I was in bed, watching the telly at 10AM. The next thing I realized was when I woke up disoriented at 4:30 PM. I had missed the ringing from 3 telephone calls and a neighbor’s knock at my door. It is now three hours later and I still feel sleepy and disoriented. Be very careful with timing of this medication!!!

I took nabumetone for a reaction to a flu shot. The flu shot caused me to have horrible pain in my arm that never goes away. After taking it for about a week, I started getting severe pains from my shoulder up into my neck. I read the insert that came with the drug and this was one of the side effects. Has anyone else ever had anything like this? I think the nabumetone screwed me up royally as well as the flu shot.
I told my doctor about it and never heard a word as to whether I should continue with it or not. I did stop taking it. He has never tested my blood for any liver problems or anemia or anything. I am angry. The nurse stuck the needle in my arm in a place where I’ve never received a shot before and since that day I’ve had constant pain in my shoulder and neck. Never had it before the flu shot.
I’m angry because I have chronic pain and my doctor is not taking me seriously. I’m at a loss for what to do. I just want to not have pain all day, every day.

I got horrible side effects on the second day of taking relafen. I felt anxious with heart palpitations and unable to sleep. The pharmacist put a “might cause drowsiness” label on the bottle, but I had insomnia and couldn’t sleep at all! I also was unable to urinate… I felt like I was getting an infection out of the blue. I quit taking the pill and slept last night…. I’m drinking lots of water and my urination is returning to normal. I’m not allergic to any medications and can take all sorts of NSAIDs, so I really don’t understand why I can’t take this one.

I have taken nabumetone off and on throughout the years to manage pain in feet/ankles. I have not experienced any side effects. The relief from joint pain has been great. I take one 750mg/day usually at night before bed. For me, I find it helps ensure a good night’s sleep (no insomnia problem here!)

Thrilled at how quickly this medicine has helped me! I have had pain of unknown origins for years. Seems to stem from low level chronic inflammation that shows up in my blood work, but can’t seem to get an actual diagnosis. I’ve been on this for 5 days and my pain is gone. I’m only taking one 500 mg a day right now, can go up to 2 a day. I won’t want to be on this forever though because it can have long term effects on other body systems.

I am 78 years of age – good condition, went to the doctor because of a shoulder hurting me – after building a “deck”. He immediately gave me a cortisone shot and a prescription for these pills, after taking four of these pills (two a day) I became very sick, dizzy, sick at stomach and just couldn’t not get out of bed. Quit taking pills feel great – shoulder still has some pain

I feel sad for your son. I would like to share my experience, though it is nowhere near as bad as your son’s. I have had a DX of IBS with occasional gastritis plus severe uterine endometrial condition, for over 20 years, and have been developing some nasty joint deformities and pain during the past 10 years or so.
I am trying to find relief using alternative more natural approaches, and have been researching what they call “leaky gut syndrome” — which supposedly might contribute to inflammatory reactions in the body. There might be diets recommended, plus other advice available. I am hoping that trying alternative or natural, with diet, exercise and other natural means, will be something that might help me. [Just thinking out loud: I can’t help wondering if there is some mysterious underlying and odd bacterial or fungal causes/etiology for a number of the nasty ongoing-chronic inflammatory disorders we humans experience?] I wish you good luck in your efforts!

My son is 19. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease July 2008 and in October that same year he had a colon resection to remove abscess & inflammation. Since he was a young boy, around 11 years old, he’s had joint pain. We’ve gone to so many doctors over the years trying to find answers. Back then, the Pediatrician thought it was growing pains. The Orthopedic doctors agreed there was inflammation but said it wasn’t bone related & Rheumatologists couldn’t determine what kind of arthritis it was because it never lasted long enough in one joint to diagnose it.
In July, he was taken to the ER with severe pain in his side. They thought it was appendicitis but after further testing, they realized it was severe inflammation/abscess as a result from Crohn’s Disease. They also determined through an x-ray that he has arthritis of the spine and said the joint pain/arthritis was leading up to Crohn’s Disease.
He has constant joint/bone pain from his ankles to his knees & hips, to his wrists and fingers. He also has a sick feeling in his stomach very often and has bouts of diarrhea. He always takes medications with food. He takes Imodium as needed. Before he started taking Nabumetone, he was taking Advil on a daily basis to try to manage pain. He’s been so distraught and overwhelmed by all this that he hasn’t followed up regularly with any of the doctors he was seeing.
He did agree to keep his appointment with the rheumatologist recently and was prescribed Nabumetone 750mg.
Dosage: Two every morning.
The doctor encouraged my son to seek help from others. A Gastro doctor to monitor Crohn’s and get medication to help prevent Crohn’s flare-ups & a counselor/therapist to help him cope with his condition & prescribe an appropriate anti-depressant. (all that is pending)
When I filled the prescription for Nabumetone, the pharmacist said he would not need any additional pain medication but if he took anything, it should only be Tylenol. So far, he has seen NO results from the Nabumetone. Then again, this is only the second day he’s taken it.
He has so many health issues to deal with and it has been difficult getting a treatment that is safe, yet effective. He has serious pain and serious conditions, yet all the medications have horrible side effects. If he doesn’t take anything other than pain meds, then he could have a flare up with Crohn’s. (He is currently NOT taking any medication for Crohn’s)
I feel so bad for him. He tries to have the best quality of life that he can but he’s so limited at times that his frustration is through the roof.
He no longer has health insurance. When he turned 19 he was dropped from his Dad’s policy. He hasn’t felt like working since his surgery last year. He just can’t seem to get the help he needs in order to manage his pain so he can get on with his life and maintain a regular routine.
Does anyone have any experience with a situation similar to ours and if so, I’m open to suggestions anyone has to offer.
Thanks for listening.

Dear SW, I feel sorry you and your son have been through so much and I just now found your blog. I was living the carbon copy of your son’s life. Everything to about 80% is what I’ve been living with to up to about a year ago. I’m only on this site because I was recently prescribed Nabume tone 750 for a shoulder injury. But I wanted to let you know about what happened to me after my doctor prescribed vitamin D (50,000 unit). The IBM stopped. No more flare ups, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion. It’s unbelievable. I now occasionally have trouble with constipation, me of all people. But that’s better than having accidents in public and being embarrassed. My mother, neighbor, sister, and friend all had the same experience with the Vitamin D. We all were prescribed it after blood test showed that we all barely had in vitamin D in our body.everybody has had the same effect. Please ask your son’s doctor to consider looking into this we all live a normal life now concerning IBS. Hope this helps.

I recently had an allergic reaction to shellfish and was told by the pharmacist that Relafen heightens sensitivity to shellfish, nuts and eggs. I am 31 and have eaten shellfish my entire life. Anyone else ever have this reaction?

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