Nabumetone (Relafen)

What is Relafen?

Nabumetone is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It relieves pain and inflammation associated with inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis.

FDA approved:

December 1991

Average annual cost:

$ 842.78 – 500 mg 2 per day

Brand Names and International Availability:

Arthaxan (Germany); Arthraxan; Consolan (Denmark); Nabuser (Italy); Prodac (Korea); Relafen (US); Relif (Spain); Relifen (South-Africa); Relifex (Benin, Burkina-Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory-Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra-Leone, South-Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe; Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, Netherland-Antilles, Puerto-Rico, Surinam, Trinidad; Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Republic-of-Yemen, Saudi-Arabia, Syria, United-Arab-Emirates, England, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Czech-Republic, Mexico, Hong-Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand); Unimetone (Korea)


How does it work?

As with most other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, its mode of action is not known. However, the ability to inhibit prostaglandin production is probably? involved in the anti-inflammatory effect.


The recommended starting dose is 1000 mg taken as a single dose. The maximum dose is 1500 mg to 2000 mg per day in split doses.

How should I take it?

Nabumetone should be taken with a glass of water. If stomach upset occurs, take with food.


Those who have had a prior allergic reaction to other NSAIDs should not take Nabumetone.

Nabumetone should be avoided in those with a history of peptic ulcer or GI bleeding.

Use during the third trimester of pregnancy is not recommended.

Nabumetone is not recommended for use in nursing mothers.

Drug Interactions:

Nabumetone can increase the effect of anti-coagulants.

Nabumetone should not be taken with any other NSAIDs.

Because of the potent nature of this medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including nonprescription medicines and vitamins.

Possible side effects:

These side effects are not considered serious but are certainly annoying for those experiencing them. The most frequently reported side effects include diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, gas, headache, increased sensitivity to sun or ultraviolet light, and nausea.

More serious side effects that you should report right away include blood in urine, black, tarry stools, chest pain or irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, skin rash, redness, blistering, peeling or itching, stomach pain or cramps, unusual bleeding or bruising, red spots on the skin, unusual tiredness or weakness, yellowing of the eyes or skin, ringing in the ears, vomit that looks like coffee grounds and any other unusual gastrointestinal symptoms.

Signs of a possible allergic reaction are rash, swelling and difficulty breathing. These symptoms should be reported immediately.

Precautions & Special Notes:

Due to the potential for sun sensitivity exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided. If you are in the sun please wear protective clothing and strong sun block.

You will be required to have frequent blood work while on this medication. It is very important that you keep all lab and doctor?s appointments.

If you get black, tarry stools or vomit up what looks like coffee grounds, call your doctor at once. You may have a bleeding ulcer.

For more information:

RxList Nabumetone
MedicineNet Nabumetone

Mosby’s GenRx?, 10th ed. Copyright ? 2000 Mosby, Inc.
Complete Guide to Prescription and Nonprescription Drugs, H. Winter Griffith, M.D. , Copyright ? 1997