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What is nabumetone?

Nabumetone belongs to the class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

NSAIDs are commonly known as pain relievers and also help reduce inflammation. They work by reducing the hormones responsible for pain and inflammation in the body.

What is nabumetone used to treat?

Nabumetone is primarily used for relieving pain and inflammation caused by conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular disease.

How do you take nabumetone?

Take nabumetone orally. It is available in 500mg, 750mg, and 1,000mg¹ measurements.

The dose your doctor prescribes will depend on many factors, including the condition being treated and your age.

For osteoarthritis, the typical adult oral dosage¹ would be:

  • Initial dosage: 1,000mg per day

  • Maintenance dosage: 1,500–2,000mg, taken in one or two doses

  • Maximum dosage: 2,000mg per day

Take the medication with a full glass of water, with or without food. Taking nabumetone with food can reduce the risk of getting an upset stomach.

Avoid lying down for at least 10 minutes after taking nabumetone.

Seeing results

Unlike other NSAIDs like ibuprofen, nabumetone will take longer to alleviate symptoms of some health conditions. It could take two weeks² to see the full effects of nabumetone when taken to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Potential side effects of nabumetone

Common side effects of nabumetone include:

  • Skin rashes

  • Indigestion

  • Constipation

  • Swelling in the limbs

  • Nausea and dizziness

  • Itching

  • Headaches

  • Stomach pains

  • Cramps

  • Gastritis

  • Drowsiness

  • Some ringing in the ears

  • Sensitivity to sunlight

Nabumetone may also cause more serious side effects. If you experience any of the following, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rapid weight gain

  • Blood in the stool

  • Blood when coughing

  • Anemia

  • Kidney problems (symptoms include difficulty or pain when urinating)

  • Liver problems (symptoms include pain in the stomach, dark urine, and jaundice)

  • Uncontrolled facial muscle movements

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Lightheadedness

  • Severe allergic reactions (symptoms include puffiness in the eyelids, face, tongue, lips, and throat)

  • Heart attack (symptoms include severe chest pains and trouble breathing)

  • Ulcers

Long-term use of nabumetone

Long-term use of NSAIDs may cause kidney damage.³ People at high risk for developing acute kidney injury include elderly people, people with impaired renal function, hypo­volemia, heart failure or left ventricular systolic dysfunction, or liver dysfunction.

You may also be more at risk of developing kidney damage with long-term use of NSAIDs if you’re taking diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

Nabumetone may raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This is more likely if you have had these conditions in the past.

Taking nabumetone for a long period may also cause bleeding in your stomach or intestines. This is more likely if you have had a stomach ulcer in the past, you are older than 60 years, you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, or use certain medications like steroids.

Missed doses

Take a missed dose as soon as you remember. If it’s nearly time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take two doses at once to make up for the one you missed.


Taking too much nabumetone may cause the following symptoms:

  • Lack of energy

  • Drowsiness

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Irregular breathing

  • Vision problems

  • Mental symptoms like agitation, hostility, depression, and anxiety

  • Confusion

  • Pale skin

  • Irritability

  • Discomfort in the throat, stomach, or chest

Nabumetone overdose may also cause coma.

Seek urgent medical attention if you think you or someone else has taken an overdose of nabumetone.

What to discuss with your doctor before taking nabumetone

Here are the things you must discuss with your doctor before taking this drug: 

  • Inform your doctor if you have heart problems, have undergone heart bypass surgery, or plan to undergo this procedure.

  • Tell your doctor if you have stomach ulcers or are prone to bleeding in the stomach. 

  • Tell your doctors if you have asthma, kidney, or liver problems.

  • Inform your doctor if you are suffering from fluid retention.

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning pregnancy, or breastfeeding. 

  • Inform your doctor of what medications and supplements you are taking.

  • Tell your doctor if you have allergic reactions to certain medications, especially nabumetone or other NSAIDs. 

  • Inform your doctor about your daily activities, as nabumetone may cause sensitivity to sunlight. 

  • Inform your doctor if you have scheduled surgery, including dental surgery. 

  • Discuss with your doctor if you consume alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis. Nabumetone, taken together with these substances, may induce stomach bleeding.

Stopping nabumetone

Suddenly stopping nabumetone might lead to increased incidence or worsening of some symptoms, primarily pain.

It could also result in swollen joints and an increased risk of inflammation. 

Nabumetone and pregnancy

Taking nabumetone after 20 weeks of pregnancy could harm a developing fetus and cause problems with delivery,⁴ but it may still be prescribed if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Nabumetone is listed as a pregnancy category C drug,⁵ meaning animal studies have shown adverse effects on developing babies, but there are insufficient studies to confirm this is also the case with humans.

You must tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant before taking this drug. Also tell your doctor if you’re breastfeeding, as nabumetone may enter breast milk.

Interactions with other drugs

Here are some of the drugs that may interact with nabumetone:

  • Antidepressants: This interaction may result in bleeding or bruising.

  • Blood thinners: Some blood-thinning medications, like dabigatran and enoxaparin, may increase bleeding when taken with nabumetone.

  • Other NSAIDs: Drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and celecoxib could make you susceptible to ulcers and further bleeding when combined with nabumetone.

  • Lithium: This may worsen the side effects of nabumetone, such as nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, ringing in the ears, weakness, and vision problems.

  • Diuretics (water pills): Diuretics can make nabumetone less effective. If your doctor prescribes nabumetone while you are taking diuretics, they will closely monitor your kidney function, fluid levels, and blood pressure.

  • Some ACE inhibitors: Captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril might interact with nabumetone. If your doctor recommends taking an ACE inhibitor and nabumetone at the same time, they will closely monitor your blood pressure during treatment.

  • Antiplatelet drugs: Drugs like clopidogrel could further increase the risk of bleeding when taken with nabumetone.

Allergy information

Mild allergic reactions, such as itching, the appearance of skin rashes, and swelling in body extremities, may occur during treatment with nabumetone.

Severe allergic reactions are also possible. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and swelling in the face, eyelids, tongue, lips, and throat.

Stop taking nabumetone and seek urgent medical attention if you develop any symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Tips and advice for taking nabumetone

Here are some tips for taking nabumetone safely and effectively: 

  • Swallow the medicine whole by drinking a full glass of water. Do not crush or chew it.

  • Store nabumetone at room temperature away from moisture and heat. It must be in a tightly closed container.

  • Attend all your scheduled doctor’s appointments while taking nabumetone so you can discuss your experiences with the medication and undergo check-ups.

  • Avoid excessive alcohol drinking, especially if you take the drug regularly or as maintenance. It could lead to serious complications, such as stomach ulcers and kidney problems.

  • Never take nabumetone more often than your doctor recommends.

  • If you take the medication as needed, you must take it at the first signs of pain, not when it has worsened. Taking the drug at the peak of pain may make it ineffective.

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Here at HealthMatch, we’ve done our best to ensure that the information provided in this article is helpful, up to date, and, most importantly, accurate.

However, we can’t replace the one-to-one advice of a qualified medical practitioner or outline all of the possible risks associated with this particular drug and your circumstances.

It is therefore important for you to note that the information contained in this article does not constitute professional medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or recommendation of treatment and is not intended to, nor should be used to, replace professional medical advice. This article may not always be up to date and is not exhaustive of all of the risks and considerations relevant to this particular drug. In no circumstances should this article be relied upon without independent consideration and confirmation by a qualified medical practitioner.

Your doctor will be able to explain all possible uses, dosages, precautions, interactions with other drugs, and other potential adverse effects, and you should always talk to them about any kind of medication you are taking, thinking about taking or wanting to stop taking.

Curious about clinical trials?

Access the latest treatments and medications. unavailable elsewhere - entirely free of charge. We make it easy to take part.