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Side Effects of Nabumetone (Relafen)


Side Effects of Nabumetone (Relafen)

Nabumetone, available under the brand Relafen, is a pain relieving and anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID) which works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation. It is used to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Warnings Before Relafen Treatment

The FDA advises Relafen should not be taken if you are allergic to it, have had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction because of taking aspirin or an NSAID, or just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG). Also, use of Relafen is not recommended during the last 3 months of pregnancy as it may harm the unborn baby or while you breast-feed because it is not known if it excretes in the breast milk.


Inform your healthcare provider if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you smoke, have a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot, a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding, asthma, liver or kidney disease, or fluid retention. While taking nabumetone, you should avoid drinking alcohol as it may increase your risk of stomach bleeding or taking aspirin. Also, exposure to sunlight or tanning beds should be avoided as nabumetone can make you sunburn more easily.


Inform your healthcare provider about all your current medicines, particularly, lithium, methotrexate, a blood thinner (Warfarin), heart or blood pressure medication, a diuretic “water pill”, or steroid medicine (such as prednisone).

Serious Side Effects

Relafen can cause serious side effects, according to Relafen label reported by the FDA. These events can occur without any warning:


  • The increased risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Bleeding
  • Ulcers
  • Tears (perforation) of the esophagus (tube leading from the mouth to the stomach), stomach and intestines
  • Serious skin reactions (which may result in hospitalization or even death)


There is an increased risk of an ulcer or bleeding with a past history of stomach ulcers, or intestinal bleeding with use of NSAIDs, high dose, longer use, smoking, drinking alcohol, older age, and advanced liver disease.

Common Side Effects

The commonly reported side effects of Relafen are headache, dizziness, feeling lethargic (fatigue), increased sweating, difficulty in sleeping (insomnia), nervousness, excessive sleepiness (somnolence), loose motion, heartburn (dyspepsia), abdominal pain, gas, dry mouth, nausea, skin rash, itching, ringing sensations in ear (tinnitus) and swelling of hands and feet (Relafen label reported by the FDA).

When to Contact Your Doctor

Contact your doctor is you observe signs of an allergic reaction: sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, wheezing or trouble breathing, hives, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, or signs of a heart attack or stroke, chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, or feeling short of breath.


In addition, stop your medication and contact your healthcare provider in the event of occurrence of any of these signs or symptoms:


  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Dark and/or tarry stools
  • Liver problems (nausea, fatigue, lethargy, pruritus, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, and “flu-like” symptoms)
  • Skin reactions (skin rash or blisters)
  • Fever
  • Kidney problems (little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination)
  • Swelling in your feet or ankles)
  • Tired feelings
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual weight gain

About Pharmacogenetic Testing

Variations in gene encoding drug metabolizing enzyme, CYP2C9, might play a significant role in the pain relieving and side effect NSAIDs. Hence, pharmacogenetic testing to detect such variations might enable your healthcare provider to optimize your treatment.

Know Your Risk with the Rxight® Genetic Test

The Rxight® test is an individualized analysis of 18 genes which examine the metabolism enzymes of over 200 prescription and over-the-counter medications. The Rxight® test shows patients how they metabolize medicaitons assisting healthcare providers in creating the best treatment plan for you.


To know more about Rxight® pharmacogenetic testing, at 1-888-888-1932 or email us at support@Rxight.com.


Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® Genetic Testing Labs