Important Safety Concerns With Indomethacin

Some Precautions and Warnings With Indomethacin

Make sure you are aware of the following before taking indomethacin:
  • There are certain other medications that may interact with indomethacin (see Drug Interactions With Indomethacin).
  • NSAIDs, including indomethacin, have been reported to cause cardiovascular events such as a heart attack or stroke, which can result in loss of life. People with cardiovascular disease or who have cardiovascular risk factors appear to be at greater risk. To decrease the chances of these problems occurring, take the smallest effective dose for the shortest period of time. And call 911 if you notice things such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, and slurring of speech.
  • Indomethacin, like other NSAIDs, may cause or worsen high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, tell your healthcare provider about it. He or she may wish to use particular caution when prescribing indomethacin in your case.
  • NSAIDs, including indomethacin, may cause congestive heart failure or swelling. Make sure to contact your healthcare provider if you notice unexplained weight gain or swelling. If you already have heart failure, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. He or she may wish to use particular caution when prescribing indomethacin in your case.
  • All NSAIDs, including indomethacin, may cause problems in the stomach and intestines, including bleeding (known as gastrointestinal bleeding), stomach ulcers, or holes in the stomach or intestines. These problems can lead to serious complications or even loss of life. If you have a history of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding, it's extremely important that your healthcare provider is aware of it. He or she will likely need to exercise extreme caution when prescribing indomethacin your case. To decrease your chances of experiencing such problems, take the smallest effective dose for the shortest period of time. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding, including:


    • Abdominal pain (or stomach pain)
    • Indigestion
    • Black, tarry stools
    • Vomiting blood.


  • Kidney damage can occur in people taking NSAIDs, including indomethacin. It is more common in people with kidney disease, heart failure, liver problems, those taking diuretics or ACE inhibitor medication, and the elderly.
  • Liver damage can occur in people who are taking indomethacin. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice things such as nausea, tiredness, lethargy, itchy or yellowing skin, abdominal pain (or stomach pain), or flu-like symptoms.
  • NSAIDs, including indomethacin, have been reported to cause allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you notice things such as difficulty breathing and swelling of the face and throat.
  • In rare cases, people taking indomethacin can develop a very serious rash. If you notice an unexplained rash or blisters, fever, or itchy skin, stop taking the indomethacin and call your healthcare provider.
  • If you are an alcoholic or drink alcohol frequently, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to starting indomethacin. Alcohol can affect the way the liver works, indirectly affecting the indomethacin.
  • NSAIDs have been known to cause an increase in liver enzymes. Therefore, your healthcare provider may recommend that you have a blood test that assesses your liver function before starting indomethacin and 12 weeks after treatment has started.
  • Indomethacin can cause anemia. If you are taking indomethacin for an extended amount of time and show signs of anemia, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Some people taking indomethacin for long periods of time have experienced problems with their eyes. These include deposits in the cornea and problems with the macula. These problems can cause the vision to blur. If you develop blurred vision while taking indomethacin, let your healthcare provider know right away.
  • Indomethacin may worsen depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia in people with these conditions. People with epilepsy or Parkinson's disease may also experience a worsening of their condition. Let your healthcare provider know if any of your symptoms seem to worsen while you are taking indomethacin.
  • Indomethacin can cause drowsiness in some people, especially when they start indomethacin or when their healthcare provider changes their dosage. Therefore, make sure that you know how your body reacts to indomethacin before driving a car, operating heavy machinery, or performing any tasks that require mental alertness.
  • You should not take indomethacin with any other NSAIDs, as this may increase your risk for any of the problems discussed above. There are many NSAIDs available with or without a prescription; make sure to read labels carefully. Some examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), naproxen (Aleve®, Anaprox®, Naprosyn®, and Naprelan®), celecoxib (Celebrex®), etodolac (Lodine®, Lodine® XL), diclofenac (Cataflam®, Voltaren®), and meloxicam (Mobic®). You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list of these medications.
  • Indomethacin is a pregnancy Category C medicine, meaning that it could potentially cause harm to your unborn child. If you are pregnant, your healthcare provider will only recommend indomethacin early in the pregnancy if he or she believes the benefit outweighs the possible risk to your unborn child. Women should not take indomethacin in their third trimester of pregnancy because it can cause injury and even death to the developing fetus. If you become pregnant while taking indomethacin, contact your healthcare provider immediately (see Indocin and Pregnancy for more information).
  • If you are nursing, you should not take indomethacin. In the event that you are nursing while taking indomethacin, talk to your healthcare provider about whether to stop nursing or discontinue the medicine.
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