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Etodolac: 6 things you should know

Medically reviewed by C. Fookes, BPharm Last updated on Aug 28, 2018.

1. How it works

  • Etodolac helps to relieve pain and inflammation by possibly blocking the effects of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. This prevents prostaglandin synthesis (prostaglandins elevate body temperature and make nerve endings more sensitive to pain transmission).
  • Etodolac belongs to a class of medicines known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

2. Upsides

  • Used to relieve mild-to-moderate acute pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • May also be used to relieve mild-to-moderate acute pain due to other causes.

3. Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Stomach-related side effects such as indigestion, belching, heartburn, and bleeding. People of an older age, taking other medicines that affect the stomach, or who drink more than 3 glasses of alcohol per day may be more at risk. Etodolac is more likely than ibuprofen to cause stomach-related side effects.
  • Dizziness, edema, headaches, pruritis, and rashes are also reasonably common.
  • Most NSAIDs have been associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events including stroke or heart attack. The risk may be higher in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions and with higher dosages. Etodolac is associated with a higher risk compared with other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.
  • May affect kidney function and increase liver enzymes. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) has also been reported.
  • May increase bleeding time especially if given with other medicines that also delay blood clotting.
  • May not be suitable for some people including those with kidney disease, a history of stomach ulcers or other gastrointestinal disorders, or with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Should not be given during or following coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
  • May interact with some other medicines such as warfarin, SSRIs, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

4. Bottom Line

Etodolac is a NSAID that may be used in the treatment of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects compared to other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.

5. Tips

  • Always use etodolac at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time as directed by your doctor. Taking etodolac with food may decrease some of the gastrointestinal side effects.
  • May make your skin more sensitive to the sun; wear sunblock SPF 30-50+ when outside; see a doctor as soon as possible if you develop a skin rash.
  • Seniors may be especially sensitive to etodolac's side effects.
  • Blood counts and liver enzymes may need monitoring periodically.
  • NSAIDs should not be used in the last 3 months of pregnancy; always ask your doctor before using any medication during pregnancy.
  • If you have experienced asthma-like symptoms, developed hives (urticaria) or other allergic-type reactions in the past after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs (like ibuprofen), do not take etodolac.
  • Combining etodolac with alcohol may increase the risk of stomach ulcers or bleeding.

6. Response and Effectiveness

  • Peak plasma concentrations of etodolac are reached within 50 to 110 minutes after oral administration, and the peak analgesic effect occurs between one to two hours following a dose. Food does not affect the absorption of etodolac. The effects of etodolac usually last six to eight hours.


Etodolac [Package Insert]. Revised 06/2018. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC.

Further information

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

Copyright 1996-2019 Revision date: August 27, 2018.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.