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Indocin (Generic Indomethacin)

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Indocin, also known by its generic name indomethacin, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to reduce inflammation, pain, and fever. While Indocin can be effective in treating certain conditions, it is important to be aware of its potential risks and side effects. Here are some of the risks associated with taking Indocin:

  • Gastrointestinal problems: Indocin can irritate the lining of the stomach and intestines, leading to stomach ulcers, bleeding, and gastrointestinal discomfort. This risk is higher in individuals with a history of gastrointestinal issues, such as ulcers or bleeding disorders.
  • Cardiovascular effects: NSAIDs, including Indocin, may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events, especially when used at higher doses or for prolonged periods. This risk is more pronounced in individuals with existing heart conditions or those at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Kidney problems: Indocin can affect kidney function and may cause fluid retention, leading to edema (swelling). Prolonged use of Indocin or taking higher doses can increase the risk of kidney damage or kidney failure, particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney problems.
  • Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to Indocin or other NSAIDs. Allergic reactions can range from mild skin rashes to severe anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Interactions with other medications: Indocin can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, diuretics, and antihypertensive drugs. These interactions can reduce the effectiveness of other medications or increase the risk of side effects.
  • Other side effects: Indocin may cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and fluid retention. It can also affect liver function, leading to liver damage in rare cases.

It’s essential to discuss your medical history, current medications, and any potential risks with your healthcare provider before starting Indocin or any other medication. They can provide personalized advice, monitor your response to the medication, and help minimize the risks associated with its use.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Indocin, also known as indomethacin, is prescribed for several reasons due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. Here are some common conditions for which Indocin may be prescribed:

  • Arthritis: Indocin is frequently prescribed for various forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and gouty arthritis. It helps reduce pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation in the joints.
  • Tendonitis and bursitis: Indocin may be used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with tendonitis (inflammation of tendons) and bursitis (inflammation of bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints).
  • Acute gout: Indocin can be prescribed to treat the acute symptoms of gout, which is a type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints.
  • Headaches: Certain types of headaches, such as tension headaches and migraines, can be managed with Indocin to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): In premature infants, Indocin may be prescribed to treat a heart condition called patent ductus arteriosus, where a blood vessel fails to close properly after birth.

How should this medicine be used?

Here are some guidelines for using Indocin:

  • Dosage: The appropriate dosage of Indocin can vary depending on the condition being treated, the severity of the symptoms, and individual factors. Your doctor will determine the dosage that is right for you.
  • Administration: Indocin is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and suppositories. It is usually taken by mouth with a full glass of water. Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the medication’s label regarding the specific formulation and how to take it.
  • Timing: Indocin is typically taken two to three times a day with food or milk to help reduce the risk of stomach upset. Taking it with food can also enhance its absorption and effectiveness.
  • Duration: The duration of treatment with Indocin will depend on the condition being treated and your response to the medication. It is essential to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the duration of use and whether it should be taken on a short-term or long-term basis.
  • Compliance: It is important to take Indocin exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not exceed the recommended dosage or take it for a longer duration without consulting your doctor.

Remember, the information provided here is a general overview, and individual circumstances may vary. It is always best to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized advice and guidance on the proper use of Indocin.

Other uses for this medicine

  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) in Premature Infants: Indocin can be used to treat a heart condition called patent ductus arteriosus in premature infants. It helps close the ductus arteriosus, a blood vessel that normally closes shortly after birth but may remain open in premature babies.
  • Migraine Headaches: Indocin has been used off-label to help relieve the pain associated with migraine headaches. However, other medications specifically approved for migraines are typically preferred.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Some studies have explored the potential use of Indocin in treating Alzheimer’s disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties. However, further research is needed to determine its efficacy and safety in this context.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions with Indocin, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Allergies: If you are allergic to Indocin or other NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen, you should avoid taking this medication.
  • Gastrointestinal Effects: Indocin can increase the risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding, ulcers, and perforation, which can be serious and potentially life-threatening. It’s advisable to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration necessary and to inform your doctor if you have a history of gastrointestinal issues.
  • Cardiovascular Risks: Indocin, like other NSAIDs, may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure, especially with long-term use or in individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions. It’s important to discuss your medical history with your doctor before taking Indocin.
  • Renal Effects: Indocin can affect kidney function, especially in individuals with pre-existing kidney disease or dehydration. Regular monitoring of kidney function is important during treatment.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Indocin should be used with caution during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, as it may harm the unborn baby. It can also pass into breast milk, so it’s important to consult with your doctor before taking Indocin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions, adhere to the prescribed dosage, and discuss any concerns or potential interactions with other medications you may be taking.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with Indocin. However, it’s generally advisable to take the medication with food or milk to help reduce the risk of stomach upset or irritation. If you have any concerns about your diet while taking Indocin, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Indocin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s close to the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

While it can be effective in treating various conditions, it may also cause certain side effects. Some potential side effects of Indocin include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues: Indocin can irritate the lining of the stomach and intestines, leading to symptoms such as stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in rare cases, gastrointestinal bleeding or ulcers.
  • Cardiovascular effects: NSAIDs like Indocin have been associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots, especially when taken in high doses or for long periods. This risk may be higher in individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions or those at higher risk for such conditions.
  • Renal (kidney) effects: Prolonged use of Indocin can cause renal impairment, including decreased kidney function, fluid retention, and increased blood pressure. It is important to stay adequately hydrated while taking this medication to minimize the risk of kidney-related complications.
  • Allergic reactions: Some people may experience allergic reactions to Indocin, characterized by symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling (particularly of the face, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Allergic reactions should be reported to a healthcare professional immediately.
  • Central nervous system effects: Indocin can occasionally cause drowsiness, dizziness, headache, confusion, and in rare cases, mood changes or depression.
  • Hematological effects: Indocin may affect blood clotting mechanisms and can lead to an increased risk of bleeding or bruising. Rarely, it may also cause blood disorders such as anemia or low platelet count.
  • Hypersensitivity reactions: In some individuals, Indocin can trigger hypersensitivity reactions, including skin reactions (such as hives or photosensitivity), allergic dermatitis, or angioedema.

It’s important to note that not everyone experiences these side effects, and many people tolerate Indocin well. However, if you are prescribed this medication, it’s crucial to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider, and promptly report any concerning symptoms you may experience.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Store Indocin at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, moisture, and heat.
  • Keep it in a tightly closed container, out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not store it in the bathroom or freezer unless specifically instructed by the pharmacist or manufacturer.


  • If you no longer need Indocin or it has expired, it is important to dispose of it properly to prevent misuse or harm to others.
  • Do not flush it down the toilet or pour it into a drain unless specifically instructed to do so.
  • Check with your local pharmacy or healthcare provider for specific instructions on how to dispose of unused medications. They may have take-back programs or provide guidance on safe disposal methods.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an emergency or suspected overdose, call your local emergency services or poison control center immediately.
  • Symptoms of an overdose may include severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, headache, confusion, blurred vision, rapid breathing, or fainting.
  • It is important to seek medical attention even if you are unsure about the severity of the overdose.

What other information should I know?

  • Indocin should be taken exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Follow the instructions on the prescription label or the package insert.
  • It is important to inform your doctor about any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with Indocin and cause adverse effects.
  • Indocin may increase the risk of stomach ulcers, bleeding, or other gastrointestinal complications. Notify your doctor if you experience symptoms such as stomach pain, black or bloody stools, or vomiting blood.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing medical conditions you have, including heart disease, high blood pressure, liver or kidney problems, asthma, or a history of bleeding disorders.
  • Indocin may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or engaging in activities that require alertness until you know how the medication affects you.
  • Alcohol consumption should be limited while taking Indocin, as it can increase the risk of stomach bleeding.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss the potential risks and benefits of using Indocin with your doctor. It should be used with caution during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester.
  • Indocin may pass into breast milk, so consult your doctor if you are breastfeeding before using this medication.

Remember, this information is not exhaustive, and it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized advice and guidance regarding the storage, disposal, usage, and potential side effects of Indocin.

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