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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Etodolac belongs to the group of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is used for the short- and long-term relief of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It works by relieving pain and by reducing swelling and inflammation. It may take up to 2 weeks to see the full benefits of this medication.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

The usual recommended dose for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is 200 mg to 300 mg twice daily. Some people may find that 400 mg or 600 mg taken once daily in the evening works well. To minimize upset stomach and heartburn, take this medication immediately after a meal, or with food or milk.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Etodolac is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and is no longer available under any brand names. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Etodolac should not be taken by anyone who:

  • is allergic to etodolac or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • currently has or recently had inflammatory diseases of the stomach or intestines, such as stomach or intestinal ulcer or ulcerative colitis
  • has had an allergic reaction to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or other anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., asthma, itchy and runny nose, itchy skin rash, hives, or other allergic reactions)
What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • tiredness
  • vomiting

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal pain
  • changes in the amount or colour of urine
  • difficult or painful swallowing
  • dizziness, loss of balance, or ringing in the ears
  • hearing problems
  • signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of self-harm)
  • skin rash
  • swelling in the feet or legs
  • symptoms of anemia (such as paleness, fatigue, or weakness)
  • symptoms of liver damage (such as yellow skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or itching)
  • unexpected weight changes
  • vision changes

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, tongue, or throat)
  • symptoms of a bleeding ulcer (such as black tarry stools, blood in the stools, vomiting up of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)
  • symptoms of a severe skin rash (such as blistering, peeling, a rash covering a large area of the body, a rash that spreads quickly, or a rash combined with fever or discomfort)
  • unusual or persistent bleeding or bruising

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.


June 8, 2021

Health Canada has issued new information concerning the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.

Allergy: Some people who are allergic to other anti-inflammatory medications also experience allergic reactions to etodolac. Before you take etodolac, inform your doctor about any previous adverse reactions you have had to medications, especially other NSAIDs. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience signs of an allergic reaction, such as skin rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face and throat.

Anemia: As with other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), etodolac can cause a reduced red blood cell count (anemia) or make existing anemia worse. If you have a history of anemia, your doctor may recommend regular blood tests to determine your hemoglobin levels.

If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Bleeding: NSAIDs such as etodolac may cause a reduced number of platelets in the blood, which can make it difficult to stop cuts from bleeding. If you notice any signs of bleeding, such as frequent nosebleeds, unexplained bruising, or black and tarry stools, notify your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will order routine blood tests to make sure potential problems are caught early.

Be sure to tell your doctor, dentist, or surgeon that you are taking this medication. You may be asked to stop taking this medication before surgery or dental procedures.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Drowsiness, dizziness, and lightheadedness have been reported by some people taking this medication. Do not drive vehicles or undertake other potentially hazardous activities until you have determined that this medication does not affect you in this way.

Fluid retention: As with many other NSAIDs, people have reported increased fluid retention while taking this medication. People who have heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney disease, who are recovering from surgical operations under general anesthesia, or have any other condition that might lead to fluid retention should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have kidney problems, heart failure, or you are taking diuretics (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide, indapamide) discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

As with other NSAIDs, etodolac may cause kidney damage. If you experience signs of decreased kidney function, such as decreased urine production, difficulty urinating or blood in the urine, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Liver function: Some people taking NSAIDs such as etodolac have developed liver damage. Stop taking the medication and contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice signs of liver damage, such as yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, itchy skin, pale stools, or dark urine. Your doctor may recommend regular liver function tests if you are taking this medication for a long period of time.

Potassium: NSAIDs such as etodolac can increase blood levels of potassium. You doctor will check your blood potassium levels while you are taking this medication. People with diabetes, kidney failure, or who are seniors, or are taking certain medications (e.g., ramipril, amiloride) should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Ulcers: NSAIDs such as etodolac may increase the risk of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. If you have had an ulcer, are at risk of experiencing an ulcer (e.g., are senior or smoke), or have medical conditions that make you prone to irritation of the stomach and intestines (e.g., diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease), you should talk to your doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring or treatment is needed.

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of a bleeding ulcer, such as dark tarry stools, blood in the stools, or vomiting up of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.

Vision changes: Etodolac and other NSAIDs may cause blurred or reduced vision. Stop taking this medication if you experience changes in vision and contact your doctor to have an eye examination arranged.

Pregnancy: The safety of using this medication during pregnancy has not been established. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if etodolac passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

Seniors: Seniors who take this medication should be closely monitored by their doctors. Seniors may be more likely to develop side effects and may require a lower dose due to decreased kidney and liver function.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between etodolac and any of the following:

  • 5-ASA medications (e.g., mesalamine, olsalzine, sulfasalazine)
  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • alcohol
  • aliskiren
  • aminoglycoside antibiotics (e.g., amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin)
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors; e.g., enalapril, lisinopril, ramipril)
  • anticoagulants (e.g., apixaban, dabigatran, , rivaroxaban, warfarin)
  • beta-adrenergic blockers (e.g., atenolol, propranolol, sotalol)
  • bisphosphonates (e.g., alendronate, etidronate, risedronate)
  • celecoxib
  • cholestyramine
  • clopidogrel
  • colestipol
  • cyclosporine
  • dasatinib
  • deferasirox
  • desmopressin
  • digoxin
  • dipyridamole
  • diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene)
  • drospirenone
  • eplerenone
  • haloperidol
  • heparin
  • herbal products that affect blood clotting (e.g., cat's claw, chamomile, fenugreek, evening primrose, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginseng, glucosamine, turmeric)
  • hydralazine
  • latanoprost
  • lithium
  • low-molecular-weight heparins (e.g., dalteparin, enoxaparin, tinzaparin)methotrexate
  • other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs; e.g., diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • obinutuzumab
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • pentoxifylline
  • porfimer
  • quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin)
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs; desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, venlafaxine)
  • sodium phosphates
  • tacrolimus
  • tenofovir
  • ticagrelor
  • ticlopidine
  • tipranavir
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, trimipramine)
  • vancomycin
  • verteporfin
  • vitamin E

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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