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Mefenamic acid Prescription
Generic Name: mefenamic acid (me fe NAM ik)
Brand Name: Ponstel
Physician reviewed mefenamic acid patient information - includes mefenamic acid description, dosage and directions.
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Mefenamic Acid Drug Information:

Mefenamic acid is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Mefenamic acid works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Mefenamic acid is used short-term (7 days or less) to treat mild to moderate pain in adults and children who are at least 14 years old. Mefenamic acid is also used to treat menstrual pain. Mefenamic acid may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. Mefenamic acid can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Do not use mefenamic acid just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG). Learn more

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Mefenamic Acid Side Effects

In Summary

More frequently reported side effects include: abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to mefenamic acid: oral capsule


Oral route (Capsule)

NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may occur early in treatment and may increase with duration of use. Mefenamic acid is contraindicated in the setting of CABG surgery. NSAIDs can also cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients and patients with a prior history of peptic ulcer disease or GI bleeding are at greater risk for serious GI events.

Along with its needed effects, mefenamic acid may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking mefenamic acid:

More common

  • Bloody urine
  • bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • decreased frequency or amount of urine
  • heartburn
  • increased bleeding time
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased thirst
  • indigestion
  • itching skin
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • nausea
  • pale skin
  • rashes
  • severe abdominal pain, cramping, or burning
  • stomach bloating
  • swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
  • trouble breathing with or without exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds, severe and continuing
  • weight gain
  • weight loss

Less common

  • Bleeding gums
  • blood in vomit
  • blurred vision
  • burning feeling in the chest or stomach
  • chest pain
  • clay-colored stools
  • cloudy urine
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • dilated neck veins
  • dizziness
  • extreme fatigue
  • fainting
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • fever or chills
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • headache
  • increased volume of pale, dilute urine
  • irregular breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • large, flat, blue, or purplish patches in the skin
  • light-colored stools
  • lightheadedness
  • nervousness
  • noisy breathing
  • pain or burning feeling in the throat
  • pinpoint red or purple spots on the skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • rapid, slow breathing
  • redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • severe or continuing stomach pain
  • slow heartbeat
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or tongue or inside the mouth
  • stomach upset
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • swollen glands
  • tenderness in the stomach area
  • tightness in the chest
  • tremors
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • upper right stomach pain
  • yellow eyes and skin


  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • change in consciousness
  • chest discomfort
  • continuing vomiting
  • cracks in the skin
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when suddenly getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • drowsiness
  • fever with or without chills
  • flushed, dry skin
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • general body swelling
  • general feeling of illness
  • high fever
  • hives
  • increased hunger
  • irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • leg pain
  • loss of consciousness
  • loss of heat from the body
  • no blood pressure
  • no breathing
  • no pulse
  • nosebleeds
  • painful glands
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • racing heartbeat or pulse
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • red, swollen skin
  • redness or soreness of the skin
  • scaly skin
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • seizures
  • severe headache
  • sneezing
  • sores, welting, or blisters
  • stiff neck or back
  • sweating
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • unexplained weight loss

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking mefenamic acid:

Symptoms of overdose

  • Unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness

Some side effects of mefenamic acid may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • feeling of fullness
  • hearing loss
  • passing gas
  • stomach discomfort

Less common

  • Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • discouragement
  • dry mouth
  • fear
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • feeling sad or empty
  • hair loss, thinning of the hair
  • increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • lack of interest or pleasure
  • lack or loss of strength
  • redness or other discoloration of the skin
  • sensation of spinning
  • severe sunburn
  • sleepiness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping


  • Appetite changes
  • burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • change in hearing
  • discharge, excessive tearing
  • redness, pain, swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to mefenamic acid: oral capsule


Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, gross bleeding/perforation, heartburn, nausea, gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, vomiting

Rare (less than 0.1%): Eructation, pancreatitis

Frequency not reported: Peptic ulcer, dry mouth, esophagitis, gastritis, GI bleeding, glossitis, hematemesis, melena, rectal bleeding, stomatitis, anorexia, colitis, enterocolitis, pyrosis, steatorrhea, GI inflammation, ulcerative stomatitis, exacerbation of Crohn's disease, gastritis


The most frequently reported side effects were gastrointestinal (GI) in nature and included abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, gross bleeding/perforation, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and gastric or duodenal ulcers.


Rare (less than 0.1%): Hypotension, arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, palpitations, vasculitis

Frequency not reported: Congestive heart failure, tachycardia, hypertension, cardiac failure, arterial thrombotic events


Cases of autoimmune hemolytic anemia have been reported with continuous use of this drug for 12 months or longer. In such cases, the Coombs tests were positive for both accelerated RBC production and destruction. The process was reversible upon discontinuation of therapy.

Common (1% to 10%): Anemia, bleeding time increased

Rare (less than 0.1%): Agranulocytosis, hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, lymphadenopathy, pancytopenia

Frequency not reported: Eosinophilia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, bone marrow hypoplasia, hematocrit decreased, thrombocytopenic purpura, disseminated intravascular coagulation, neutropenia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, eosinophilia, platelet aggregation inhibition


Rare (less than 0.1%): Hyperglycemia

Frequency not reported: Hyponatremia, glucose intolerance, anorexia

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, headache, drowsiness

Rare (less than 0.1%): Convulsions, coma

Frequency not reported: Syncope, paresthesia, somnolence, tremors, optic neuritis


Rare (less than 0.1%): Respiratory distress, pneumonia

Frequency not reported: Asthma, dyspnea, bronchospasm, aggravated asthma, laryngeal edema


Common (1% to 10%): Rash, pruritus

Rare (less than 0.1%): Angioedema, toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme, exfoliative dermatitis, urticaria

Frequency not reported: Ecchymosis, purpura, alopecia, photosensitivity, sweating


Common (1% to 10%): Elevated liver enzymes

Rare (less than 0.1%): Liver failure

Frequency not reported: Hepatitis, jaundice, cholestatic jaundice, hepatorenal syndrome, mild hepatic toxicity


Rare (less than 0.1%): Conjunctivitis

Frequency not reported: Blurred vision, eye irritation, reversible loss of color vision, visual disturbances


Frequency not reported: Cystitis, dysuria, hematuria, oliguria, polyuria, proteinuria, false positive urobilinogen urine


Common (1% to 10%): Abnormal renal function

Frequency not reported: Interstitial nephritis, renal failure, allergic/non-allergic glomerulonephritis, nephrotic syndrome, non-oliguric renal failure, renal papillary necrosis, tubulointerstitial nephritis


Rare (less than 0.1%): Hallucinations

Frequency not reported: Anxiety, confusion, depression, dream abnormalities, insomnia, nervousness


Rare (less than 0.1%): Anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reaction

Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity reaction, non-specific allergic reaction


Common (1% to 10%): Edema, tinnitus

Rare (less than 0.1%): Death, meningitis, appetite changes, hearing impairment

Frequency not reported: Fever, infection, sepsis, weight changes, asthenia, malaise, vertigo, aseptic meningitis, ear pain, face edema, fatigue, malaise, multi-organ failure, pyrexia, fluid retention, edema of the larynx

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by USARx EDITORIAL TEAM Last updated on 1/27/2021.

Source: Drugs.com Mefenamic Acid (www.drugs.com/mtm/mefenamic-acid.html).