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Indomethacin is used to treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the joints in your hands and feet (rheumatoid arthritis), joint disease (osteoarthritis), arthritis that affect the spine (ankylosing spondylitis), pain, inflammation, and swelling following orthopedic surgery, musculoskeletal disorders, painful periods (dysmenorrhea), low back pain, severe swelling of the tendon (tendinitis), sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually a big toe (gout), inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of synovial fluid in the body (bursitis).

How it works

Indomethacin belongs to a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by reducing chemicals that cause inflammation and pain in the body.

Common side effects

Anal irritation, Difficulty in controlling bowel movements, Dizziness, Headache, Ringing in ear, Vomiting, Constipation, Diarrhoea


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Expert advice

  • Take the drug with meals or a snack to prevent a stomach upset.
  • The drug can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding. Do not take this drug with other blood thinners without talking to your doctor.
  • Consult your doctor immediately, if you have symptoms of bleeding in your stomach or intestines.( black, bloody, or tarry stools, or coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds).
  • Do not use this medicine just before or after having heart bypass surgery.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose or duration of treatment. You might be at small increased risk of heart attack (‘myocardial infarction’) or stroke.
  • Indomethacin can cause headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and visual disturbances in some people. If this happens to you, avoid activities which require you to be alert; for example, driving a car and operating machinery.
Before you take Indomethacin, tell your doctor:
  • If you are epileptic.
  • If you have parkinson’s disease.
  • If you have a psychiatric problem.
  • If you have heart disease, high blood pressure or have a tendency for fluid retention.
  • If you are being treated for infection or you have a fever.
  • If you know you suffer from asthma, digestive tract, liver or kidney disease, diabetes or heart failure.
  • If you have a problem with your blood clotting.
  • If you notice any change in your vision especially during chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the joints in your hands and feet (rheumatoid arthritis).
  • If you are planning to become pregnant or if you have problems becoming pregnant as Indomethacin may make it more difficult to become pregnant.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is indomethacin an antibiotic/steroid/ OTC drug/ addictive/ a blood thinner/ contain sulfa/ contain aspirin?
No, indomethacin is not an antibiotic nor a steroid. It does not contain sulfur or aspirin. It is not an OTC drug. It is not a blood thinner, but it may enhance the effect of anticoagulants (blood thinners). It can be an addictive drug for some people, and this is why you should ensure regularly check up with your doctor.
Q. Is indomethacin is good for gout/ back pain/tooth pain/ headache?
Indomethacin is primarily used to treat chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects the joints in your hands and feet. It can be used for gout and back pain. It is not choice of drug for tooth pain and headache
Q. Is indomethacin safe?
Indomethacin is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Is indomethacin stronger than ibuprofen/ naproxen?
Indomethacin and ibuprofen/ naproxen belong to same category of drugs and are equally effective and safe. Always follow doctor’s advice regarding its use.
Q. What is Indocap SR/ is it a pain killer?
Indocap SR is a brand name for indomethacin. It is a pain killer.
Q. Can I take naproxen/ Colcrys or colchicine/ Aleve/ paracetamol/ Tylenol/ Tramadol/ Allopurinol /Advil/ ibuprofen/ Vicodin/ hydrocodone/ Percocet/ Coudamin/ aspirin/ percocet+B5879?
Yes, you can take indomethacin with Colcrys or colchicine/ Aleve/ paracetamol/ Tylenol/Tramadol/ Allopurinol / Percocet/ Hydrocodone. You should avoid taking indomethacin with naproxen, ibuprofen or Advil, Coudamin, aspirin, because these drugs interact with indomethacin
Q. Does indomethacin raise blood pressure/ reduce uric acid levels/ make you sleepy or dizzy/ cause weight gain/ hair loss/ affect birth control?
Indomethacin doesn’t affect birth control, if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor. It may cause common side effects such as dizziness, uncommon like high blood pressure, drowsiness (feeling sleepy) and rare side effects like hair loss, weight gain, reduce uric acid level. Please contact your doctor for advice if you experience them.

Content on this page was last updated on 28 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)