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People's Pharmacy: Arthritis drug gave reader 'excruciating' abdominal pain from ruptured peptic ulcer
People’s Pharmacy

People's Pharmacy: Arthritis drug gave reader 'excruciating' abdominal pain from ruptured peptic ulcer

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Joe and Teresa Graedon

Q: I took meloxicam to treat arthritis pain for a year. Then I was rushed to the emergency room with excruciating pain in my abdomen. After many X-rays, the doctors determined that I had a ruptured peptic ulcer and needed emergency surgery. I was told to stop taking meloxicam immediately to avoid a repeat. I certainly don’t want another ulcer, but I would like some relief for the joint pain. What can you suggest?

Answer: NSAIDs like meloxicam, diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen all can increase the risk for ulcer formation. A ruptured peptic ulcer (also called a perforated or bleeding ulcer) is a life-threatening condition, as you discovered.

You might want to consider some home or herbal remedies to see if one works for you. Many people find that gin-soaked golden raisins can help. Others prefer Certo plant pectin dissolved in grape juice. Knox gelatin stirred into juice, yogurt or applesauce has its fans.

Herbal therapies, including ashwagandha, Boswellia, ginger and stinging nettle, may ease inflammation. Some people find that acupuncture or bee sting therapy can be helpful. Others report good results with the dietary supplements MSM and SAMe.

You can learn more about all of these approaches in our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This online resource is available in the Health eGuides section of

Q: I started following the People’s Pharmacy about 30 years ago. As a nurse, I am familiar with most drugs, so the home remedies section is my favorite. I helped my husband stop his cramps with tonic water.

A friend recently asked me if I had any ideas about her eczema. I suggested cider vinegar topically. She is thrilled with the result - no more itching and her spots are going away.

Answer: Apple cider vinegar as a soak for eczema is new to us. A research team at the University of Virginia tested this treatment to see if it improves skin barrier function like urea does (Pediatric Dermatology, September 2019). Sadly, it does not, but the investigators are considering whether some other type of acidic ointment might help.

Questions for Joe and Teresa Graedon can be emailed via their website:

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