What is mefenamic acid
Mefenamic acid belongs to the NSAID family of drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), along with medicines such as naproxen, diclofenac sodium and ibuprofen, amongst others.
The primary goal of mefenamic acid is to reduce pain and inflammation, though it can also be prescribed to treat menorrhagia (heavy periods).
Treatment is available through the NHS, or if you prefer, you can buy mefenamic acid safely and legally online through Doctor4U.
How does mefenamic acid work?
The drug works in the same way as other NSAIDs such as naproxen, and helps to block chemicals called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced and released by your body as a response to injury, or in some cases, certain conditions can trigger prostaglandin production. They’re one of the main causes of pain and inflammation, and generally help to body to protect damaged tissue. However, there are times that the pain and swelling caused by prostaglandins need pain relief, which is where NSAIDs such as mefenamic acid come in.
By blocking the production of prostaglandins, mefenamic acid is able to reduce your pain and inflammation to a bearable level, improving your day-to-day life.
Is mefenamic acid safe
Mefenamic acid carries the same risks as other NSAIDs, but most people are able to take it safely as long as they stick to the prescribed dose.
However, there are some people that should avoid taking mefenamic acid if possible, and should get advice from their GP on alternative treatments and whether it’s safe for them to use NSAIDs. Patients that should not buy mefenamic acid include those with/that are:
An allergy to the medicine
A history of stomach or intestinal problems
A history of inflammatory bowel disease
Heart, liver or kidney problems
Recent heart bypass surgery
More than 6 months pregnant
Taking other NSAIDs
Taking other anti-inflammatories
Taking aspirin or anticoagulants
Taking SSRI antidepressants
Trying to conceive
A history of bleeding disorders
A history of asthma
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
If you fall into one or more of the above categories, you shouldn’t buy mefenamic acid and should instead visit your GP for advice on your symptoms.
It’s also important to know that NSAIDs such as mefenamic acid and naproxen may be associated with a slightly increased risk of heart attack or stroke. If you’re concerned about this risk, please speak to your own doctor for advice, especially if you’re known to have any other conditions that could contribute to your risk of heart problems or stroke.
Mefenamic acid side effects
Mefenamic acid is a prescription medication, and as with most drugs and NSAIDs, it carries the potential to cause unwanted side effects. However, most people that take mefenamic acid find that they either don’t experience any side effects, or that they’re only mild and bearable.
As with all medicines, if the side effects outweigh the benefits of the drug, you should consult your own GP and potentially stop taking it, as it can cause more harm than good if you do suffer from adverse effects.
The side effects for mefenamic acid are split into two categories: serious side effects, and side effects that don’t require immediate medical attention.
The serious side effects include:
Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Severe itching with rash or lumps
Swollen face, lips, tongue or throat
Blisters in mouth, eyes, or genitals
Bloody or black, tarry stools
Vomiting blood or dark particles
Unusual bruising or bleeding
Fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers
Low sodium levels
Symptoms of meningitis
Rash, nausea, pain, urinating in the night
Sudden visual disturbances
Headache (especially in the mornings)
Pain in the ribs and back with nausea
If you experience any of these side effects, you should stop taking your mefenamic acid and seek urgent medical help, stating that you may be having adverse reactions to the drug.
The following set of side effects don’t require urgent treatment, but you should still inform your GP if you experience any of them, as they might want to monitor you more closely whilst taking the NSAID:
Numbness/tingling in hands or feet
Poor blood sugar control (if diabetic)
Worsening asthma or new asthma
Swelling of hands and feet
Low blood pressure
If you do experience side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness/lethargy, it’s important that you don’t drive or operate machinery until you feel better.
Mefenamic acid uses
Mefenamic acid is generally prescribed for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or muscular pain, but can also be used for short-term types of pain such as toothache, headaches, and pain after an operation.
However, one of the other common uses for mefenamic acid is to treat painful and/or heavy periods in women who struggle with either condition.
Mefenamic acid for periods
In cases where periods are heavy and/or painful, mefenamic acid can be prescribed to help to reduce pain and blood loss.
Although prostaglandins are usually produced by the body in response to injury, both dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) and menorrhagia (heavy periods) are associated with excess prostaglandins in the womb.
Many women that suffer with either or both of these conditions find that taking mefenamic acid helps to reduce the amount of pain they experience during their period, as well as helping to reduce the amount of menstrual blood that’s lost during this time.
NSAIDs such as mefenamic acid are often one of the first treatments to be offered for painful or heavy periods as they’re known to be effective at treating the conditions, and can also be taken alongside hormonal contraceptives which may also help to control pain and blood loss associated with menstruation.
Mefenamic acid dose
Mefenamic acid is available in 250mg and 500mg strengths, but the dose you take can often depend on the condition that you’re looking to treat.
According to the BNF, the typical daily dose of mefenamic acid is one 500mg tablet or capsule taken 3 times a day. As mefenamic acid is an NSAID, it’s recommended that you take it with or just after a meal to reduce the risk of any gastro-intestinal side effects, so it might help to take your tablets with your 3 main meals, as this can also help you to get into a routine so that you don’t forget any doses.
Unless your GP has advised you otherwise, you should start off on this dose as stated by the BNF. However, if you find that the 500mg strength is too much for you, you can talk to your doctor about reducing your dose to 250mg 3 times a day instead.
Mefenamic acid and ibuprofen
Ibuprofen and mefenamic acid are both NSAIDs and should not be taken together as this could increase your risk of side effects and GI issues.
It’s especially important to be careful if you’re taking any OTC (over the counter) medicines or remedies, and to check the label on these as they might contain ibuprofen. For example, some cold and flu medicines as well as some period pain relief treatments can sometimes contain ibuprofen, so take extra care in reading the ingredients if you also plan on taking mefenamic acid.
Mefenamic acid and paracetamol
As paracetamol belongs to a different family of medicines to mefenamic acid, and it isn’t an anti-inflammatory, it’s safe to take these two treatments together if you feel as though you need more pain relief.
You can also take mefenamic acid safely alongside codeine for more severe pain, though you should be careful not to take any paracetamol if you’re taking the medicine co-codamol.
It’s up to you how you take the two pain relievers. You can either take both at the same time, or stagger the timings so that you’re always getting a steady dose of pain relief.
Mefenamic acid NHS
Mefenamic acid is available on the NHS to patients that need it, though it isn’t as commonly prescribed as naproxen, ibuprofen or diclofenac. Your NHS GP will make a decision on which medicine is most suitable for you based on your symptoms or condition.
Buy mefenamic acid
If you’re struggling to obtain this treatment on the NHS, or just prefer to source it privately, you can buy mefenamic acid online from Doctor4U after completing a consultation form about your condition.
Once you’ve filled out the form and chosen your treatment, your consultation will be sent to one of our GMC-registered doctors who’ll be able to review the information and decide whether mefenamic acid is right for you.
Unfortunately you can’t buy mefenamic acid over the counter as it’s a prescription-only medicine. However, as part of our service, our doctors are able to generate a prescription for you if they feel as though mefenamic acid is sutiable for you. Your treatment is then dispensed from our partner pharmacy directly to your door, so you don’t even need to go out to collect it.
It's safe and easy to buy mefenamic acid from Doctor4U, and all of our treatments are shipped in plain packaging in the interest of being discreet.