Indomethacin Oral Capsule | Side Effects, Dosage & More
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Generic Name:

indomethacin, Oral capsule

All Brands

  • Indocin (Discontinued)
  • TIVORBEX
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for indomethacin

Oral capsule
1

Indomethacin is an anti-inflammatory drug. It comes in these forms: oral capsule, oral liquid suspension, and rectal suppository.

2

Indomethacin is used to reduce inflammation, pain, and fever. It’s used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis, and shoulder pain.

3

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, and constipation.

4

Indomethacin may increase your chance of heart attack or stroke. Your risk is higher if you have existing heart problems or if you take the drug for a long time.

5

Indomethacin may cause ulcers, bleeding, or inflammation of your stomach or intestines. This can happen at any time during treatment without warning.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

Indomethacin has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Though the medication can still be sold and used, a black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Heart risk. Indomethacin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs may increase your risk of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. This risk may be higher if you’re taking it long term, at high doses, or if you already have heart problems or risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure.

Don’t take indomethacin for pain before, during, or after heart bypass surgery. This may increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor if you take indomethacin and will have surgery soon.

Stomach problems. NSAIDs like indomethacin may increase your risk of serious side effects, including stomach bleeding or ulcers. These events may be fatal. They may happen at any time without symptoms. Seniors have a higher risk for serious stomach problems.

May cause kidney problems

Indomethacin may harm your kidneys if you take it for a long time. Call your doctor if you have symptoms of kidney damage, such as:

  • changes in your urine volume
  • swelling of your feet or ankles
  • shortness of breath 

Dangerous skin reactions

Indomethacin can cause a skin reaction that can be fatal. Call your doctor if you have signs of a skin reaction, such as blistering, peeling, or swelling of your skin. You may also have a fever.

Pregnancy warning

Don’t use indomethacin if you’ve been pregnant for more than 29 weeks. Using it during this time can cause problems with the fetus’s heart.

What is indomethacin?

Indomethacin is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral immediate-release capsule, oral extended-release capsule, oral liquid, and rectal suppository.

Indomethacin is available in its generic form. Generic drugs often cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

Indomethacin is used to treat inflammation, pain, and fever.

See Details

How it works

Indomethacin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by blocking an enzyme in your body that leads to inflammation. Blocking the enzyme helps to reduce inflammation and pain.

Why it's used

Indomethacin is used to treat inflammation, pain, and fever. It’s most commonly used to treat:

  • moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis
  • moderate to severe ankylosing spondylitis
  • moderate to severe osteoarthritis
  • acute painful shoulder (bursitis or tendinitis)
  • acute gouty arthritis (immediate-release only)
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SECTION 2 of 5

indomethacin Side Effects

Oral capsule

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with indomethacin include:

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • heartburn

  • diarrhea

  • stomach pain

  • constipation

  • headache

  • dizziness

  • tiredness

  • ringing in your ears

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • heart attack. Symptoms may include:

    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
  • stroke. Symptoms may include:

    • face drooping
    • arm weakness
    • difficulty speaking
  • high blood pressure. Symptoms may include:

    • a dull headache, dizzy spells, or nosebleeds
  • heart failure. Symptoms may include:

    • swelling of your ankles or feet
    • sudden weight gain
    • tiredness
  • kidney problems. Symptoms may include:

    • changes in your urine volume
    • swelling of your feet or ankles
    • shortness of breath
  • stomach or intestinal bleeding. Symptoms may include:

    • bright red- or black-colored stool
    • tar-like stool
    • red-colored vomit
  • low red blood cell (anemia) count. Symptoms may include:

    • shortness of breath
    • weakness
    • pale-colored skin
    • fast heartbeat
  • severe skin rash with blisters. You may also have a fever.

  • severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

    • trouble breathing
    • swelling of your throat, tongue, or lips
  • liver problems. Symptoms may include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • nausea
    • fatigue
    • itching
    • flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, chills, and tiredness
  • asthma attacks

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Indomethacin may cause drowsiness. Don’t drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or perform similar activities that require alertness until you know how the drug affects you.

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

indomethacin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Indomethacin can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol interaction

Combining this drug with alcohol may increase your risk of bleeding in your stomach or intestines. Talk to your doctor if you drink alcohol. You may need to limit how much alcohol you drink while taking this medication.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Blood pressure medications
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • water pills (diuretics), such as hydrochlorothiazide

These drugs may not work as well to control blood pressure when taken with indomethacin.

Aspirin

Combining these medications increases your risk of stomach problems, including ulcers and bleeding.

Bipolar disorder drug
  • lithium

Combining these drugs may cause lithium to take longer to be clear from your body. This increases the level of lithium in your body, which may cause nausea, tremors, and dizziness. 

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug
  • methotrexate

Indomethacin may increase the amount of methotrexate in your body to toxic levels. This can raise your risk of infection, kidney damage, and low white blood cell counts.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Examples are:

  • ibuprofen
  • meloxicam
  • naproxen

Taking other NSAIDs with indomethacin may increase the risk of stomach problems.

Oral anticoagulants, blood thinners
  • warfarin
  • clopidogrel
  • ticlopidin
  • rivaroxaban

Taking these drugs with indomethacin may increase your risk of bleeding in your stomach or intestines.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Indomethacin warnings
heart conditions
People with heart conditions

Indomethacin may increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. It may also cause higher blood pressure levels.

stomach problems
People with stomach problems

Indomethacin may increase your risk of swelling or bleeding in your stomach and intestines. It may also increase your risk for ulcers.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

Your kidneys may not work as well when taking indomethacin. It may damage your kidneys or lower the blood flow to your kidneys.

asthma
People with asthma

Don’t use indomethacin if you have aspirin-sensitive asthma. It may cause a fatal allergic reaction.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Indomethacin is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Indomethacin should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Indomethacin may pass through breast milk and cause serious side effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide whether you’ll take indomethacin or breastfeed. 

seniors
For seniors

If you’re over 65 years of age, you may have more side effects, such as bleeding in the stomach or intestines. Also, your kidney function may be decreased. Your kidneys may not remove the drug from your body as well as they should, putting you at risk for serious side effects.

allergies
Allergies

Indomethacin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to aspirin or other NSAIDs. Taking it again could be fatal.  

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take indomethacin (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis
Form: Oral immediate-release capsule
Strengths: 25 mg and 50 mg
Form: Oral extended-release capsule
Strengths: 75 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Immediate-release capsule

Indomethacin is usually dosed 2 to 3 times per day and starts at a dose of 25 mg. Your doctor may increase your dose by 25 or 50 mg per day. The maximum dose is 200 mg per day.

Extended-release capsule

The dose is 75 mg once or twice per day. The maximum dose is 150 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Immediate-release capsule

  • Indomethacin dosing for children is based on weight. Your doctor will determine the right dose for your child.
  • A starting dose may be 1–2 mg/kg per day divided into 2–4 doses.
  • The maximum dose is 3 mg/kg per day or 200 mg per day, whichever is less.

Extended-release capsule

A safe and effective extended-release capsule dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Moderate to severe ankylosing spondylitis
Form: Oral immediate-release capsule
Strengths: 25 mg and 50 mg
Form: Oral extended-release capsule
Strengths: 75 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Immediate-release capsule

Indomethacin is usually dosed 2 to 3 times per day and starts at a dose of 25 mg. Your doctor may increase your dose by 25 or 50 mg per day. The maximum dose is 200 mg per day.

Extended-release capsule

The dose is 75 mg once or twice per day. The maximum dose is 150 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Immediate-release capsule

  • Indomethacin dosing for children is based on weight. Your doctor will determine the right dose for your child.
  • A starting dose may be 1–2 mg/kg per day divided into 2–4 doses.
  • The maximum dose is 3 mg/kg per day or 200 mg per day, whichever is less.

Extended-release capsule

A safe and effective extended-release capsule dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Moderate to severe osteoarthritis
Form: Oral immediate-release capsule
Strengths: 25 mg and 50 mg
Form: Oral extended-release capsule
Strengths: 75 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Immediate-release capsule

Indomethacin is usually dosed 2 to 3 times per day and starts at a dose of 25 mg. Your doctor may increase your dose by 25 or 50 mg per day. The maximum dose is 200 mg per day.

Extended-release capsule

The dose is 75 mg once or twice per day. The maximum dose is 150 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Immediate-release capsule

  • Indomethacin dosing for children is based on weight. Your doctor will determine the right dose for your child.
  • A starting dose may be 1–2 mg/kg per day divided into 2–4 doses.
  • The maximum dose is 3 mg/kg per day or 200 mg per day, whichever is less.

Extended-release capsule

A safe and effective extended-release capsule dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Acute painful shoulder (bursitis or tendinitis)
Form: Oral immediate-release capsule
Strengths: 25 mg and 50 mg
Form: Oral extended-release capsule
Strengths: 75 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Immediate-release capsule

The dose is 75–150 mg in 3 or 4 divided doses per day for 7–14 days.

Extended-release capsule

The dose is 75 mg once or twice per day. The maximum dose is 150 mg per day.

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Immediate-release capsule

  • Indomethacin dosing for children is based on weight. Your doctor will determine the right dose for your child.
  • A starting dose may be 1–2 mg/kg per day divided into 2–4 doses.
  • The maximum dose is 3 mg/kg per day or 200 mg per day, whichever is less.

Extended-release capsule

A safe and effective extended-release capsule dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Acute gouty arthritis
Form: Oral immediate-release capsule
Strengths: 25 mg and 50 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The dose is usually 50 mg 3 times per day until your pain improves.

Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • Indomethacin dosing for children is based on weight. Your doctor will determine the right dose for your child.
  • A starting dose may be 1–2 mg/kg per day divided into 2–4 doses.
  • The maximum dose is 3 mg/kg per day or 200 mg per day, whichever is less.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Indomethacin comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking it

If you don’t take your medication, your pain and swelling may get worse.

If you take too much

If you take too much indomethacin, you may experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, very bad headaches, confusion, and convulsions. You’ll also be at a higher risk for stomach problems and bleeding.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as possible. If it’s almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a single dose. 

Don’t double the dose to try to catch up. This could result in toxic side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may be able to tell indomethacin is working if you have reduced pain, fever, swelling, and tenderness.

Indomethacin is a short-term drug treatment.

It should be used for the shortest possible time to treat the problem.

Important considerations for taking indomethacin
take with food
Take with food to reduce risk of upset stomach
do not crush
Don’t crush, chew, or cut extended-release capsules. They need to be released in your body slowly
storage
Store at room temperature: 68–77°F (20–25°C)
See Details
refillable
Prescription is refillable
luggage
Travel
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details

Store at room temperature: 68–77°F (20–25°C)

Don’t freeze indomethacin.

Keep this drug away from light and high temperatures.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store these drugs away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled bottle with you when traveling.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will check you regularly for signs of stomach or intestinal bleeding.

Your doctor will also do blood work to make sure that your liver and kidneys are working properly.

If you’re taking any drugs that may interact with indomethacin, your doctor may also monitor the levels of those drugs.  

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does indomethacin Cost?

Oral capsule

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Lowest price for indomethacin

Walgreens $5.00
Walmart $8.51
Sams Club $8.51
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for indomethacin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for indomethacin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 23, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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