Written by Rachel Nall | Published on November 11, 2013
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on November 11, 2013

What Is Nabumetone?

Brand Name: Relafen
Generic Name: nabumetone

Nabumetone belongs to a class of medications known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Physicians commonly prescribe the medication to treat pain due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The medication is used to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Read the FDA description of nabumetone.

Spending too much at the pharmacy on anti-inflammatory meds? Find out how you can pay less »

What Does Nabumetone Do?

Nabumetone has anti-inflammatory, pain-reducing and/or fever-reducing properties. While its exact action is unknown, the anti-inflammatory effects may come from reducing the synthesis of compounds known as prostaglandins, which can cause pain and cramping in the body.

This information is a summary. Before starting this medication, discuss questions with your healthcare provider and make sure you understand dosage instructions.

What Should I Tell My Doctor Before Starting Nabumetone?

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant
  • have asthma
  • have congestive heart failure
  • have edema
  • have a history of peptic ulcer disease and/or gastrointestinal bleeding
  • have a history of severe skin reactions, such as exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • have a hypersensitivity or allergy to nabumetone or aspirin
  • have hypertension or high blood pressure
  • have impaired renal function
  • have liver dysfunction
  • have urticaria or hives

What Medications May Interact with Nabumetone?

Always tell your physician about any prescription medications or herbal remedies you are taking.

Medications that can adversely interact with nabumetone include:

  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik)
  • aspirin
  • diuretics, such as furosemine (Lasix), or thiazides, such as hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide) or metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
  • oral diabetes medications
  • other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek)
  • warfarin (Coumadin)

Possible Side Effects of Nabumetone

The following are severe and emergent side effects of these medications. Contact your medical provider immediately if you experience the following:

  • anaphylactic reaction, such as trouble breathing or facial swelling
  • cardiovascular side effects, such as myocardial infarction or stroke
  • fast heartbeat
  • gastrointestinal bleeding, such as ulcers or perforation
  • hepatotoxicity symptoms, such as nausea, lethargy, jaundice, or flu-like symptoms
  • severe skin reactions, such as exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or toxic epidermal necrolysis

The following side effects may occur, but do not usually represent an emergency. Discuss with your doctor or healthcare professional if they continue or are bothersome.

  • constipation
  • gas or bloating
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • mouth sores
  • nervousness
  • painful urination
  • ringing in the ears
  • sweating

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor or healthcare provider for advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where Should I Keep Nabumetone?

Nabumetone should be stored at room temperature—somewhere around 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius. Keep the medication tightly closed and in a light-resistant container.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

FDA WARNING: Nabumetone carries a black box warning (meaning the medication has potentially lethal side effects) for its potential to increase a patient’s risk for heart attack or stroke, particularly if you have taken non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the long term. Taking nabumetone before coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery can increase death risk from bleeding. The medication can cause ulcers, bleeding, and/or holes in the stomach or intestine. Elderly patients are especially at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding (FDA, 2005).  
Stop taking nabumetone and seek emergency medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, slurred speech, loss of function on one side of the body, blood in the stool, black stool, tarry stool, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

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Show Sources

●      Nabumetone (Oral Route). (2012, November 1). Retrieved October 28, 2013 from
●      Nabumetone. (2010, September 1). MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from
●      Relafen (nabumetone). (2005). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved October 28, 2013 from

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