June 29, 2016
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Discontinued Warning IconPlease Note: This Brand Name drug is no longer available in the US.
(Generic versions may still be available.)

Side Effects


In a gastroscopic study in 45 healthy subjects, the number of gastric mucosal abnormalities was significantly higher in the group receiving Capsules INDOCIN (indomethacin) than in the group taking Suppositories INDOCIN (indomethacin) or placebo.

In a double-blind comparative clinical study involving 175 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, however, the incidence of upper gastrointestinal adverse effects with Suppositories or Capsules INDOCIN (indomethacin) was comparable. The incidence of lower gastrointestinal adverse effects was greater in the suppository group.

The adverse reactions for Capsules INDOCIN (indomethacin) listed in the following table have been arranged into two groups: (1) incidence greater than 1%; and (2) incidence less than 1%. The incidence for group (1) was obtained from 33 double-blind controlled clinical trials reported in the literature (1,092 patients). The incidence for group (2) was based on reports in clinical trials, in the literature, and on voluntary reports since marketing. The probability of a causal relationship exists between INDOCIN (indomethacin) and these adverse reactions, some of which have been reported only rarely.

The adverse reactions reported with Capsules INDOCIN (indomethacin) may occur with use of the suppositories. In addition, rectal irritation and tenesmus have been reported in patients who have received the suppositories.

The adverse reactions reported with Capsules INDOCIN (indomethacin) may also occur with use of the suspension.

Incidence greater than 1% Incidence less than 1%  
nausea** with or without vomiting
dyspepsia** (including indigestion, heartburn and epigastric pain) diarrhea
abdominal distress or pain
bloating (includesdistension)
peptic ulcer
rectal bleeding
single or multiple ulcerations, including perforation and hemorrhage of the esophagus,stomach, duodenum or small and large intestines
intestinal ulceration associated with stenosis and obstruction
gastrointestinal bleeding without obvious ulcer formation and perforation of pre-existing sigmoid lesions (diverticulum, carcinoma, etc.) development of ulcerative colitis and regional ileitis
ulcerative stomatitis
toxic hepatitis and jaundice (some fatal cases have been reported)
intestinal strictures (diaphragms)
headache (11.7%)
depression and fatigue
(including malaise and listlessness)
anxiety (includes nervousness)
muscle weakness
involuntary muscle movements
psychic disturbances including psychoticepisodes
mental confusion
aggravation of epilepsy and parkinsonism
peripheral neuropathy
tinnitus ocular - corneal deposits and retinal disturbances, including those of the macula, have been reported in some patients on prolonged therapy with INDOCIN blurred vision
hearing disturbances, deafness
none hypertension
chest pain
congestive heart failure
arrhythmia; palpitations
none edema
weight gain
fluid retention
flushing or sweating
none pruritus
rash; urticaria petechiae or ecchymosis
exfoliative dermatitis
erythema nodosum
loss of hair
Stevens-Johnson syndrome
erythema multiforme
toxic epidermal necrolysis
none leukopenia
bone marrow depression
anemia secondary to obvious or occult gastrointestinal bleeding
aplastic anemia
hemolytic anemia
thrombocytopenic purpura
disseminated intravascular coagulation
none acute anaphylaxis
acute respiratory distress
rapid fall in blood pressure resembling a shock-like state
pulmonary edema
none hematuria
vaginal bleeding
nephrotic syndrome
interstitial nephritis
BUN elevation
renal insufficiency, including renal failure
none epistaxis
breast changes, including enlargement and tenderness, or gynecomastia
** Reactions occurring in 3% to 9% of patients treated with INDOCIN. (Those reactions occurring in less than 3% of the patients are unmarked.)

Causal relationship unknown: Other reactions have been reported but occurred under circumstances where a causal relationship could not be established. However, in these rarely reported events, the possibility cannot be excluded. Therefore, these observations are being listed to serve as alerting information to physicians:

Cardiovascular: Thrombophlebitis

Hematologic: Although there have been several reports of leukemia, the supporting information is weak

Genitourinary: Urinary frequency.

A rare occurrence of fulminant necrotizing fasciitis, particularly in association with Group A β hemolytic streptococcus, has been described in persons treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, including indomethacin, sometimes with fatal outcome (see also PRECAUTIONS, General).

Read the Indocin (indomethacin) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


ACE-Inhibitors and Angiotensin II Antagonists

Reports suggest that NSAIDs may diminish the antihypertensive effect of ACE-inhibitors and angiotensin II antagonists. INDOCIN (indomethacin) can reduce the antihypertensive effects of captopril and losartan. These interactions should be given consideration in patients taking NSAIDs concomitantly with ACE-inhibitors or angiotensin II antagonists. In some patients with compromised renal function, the co-administration of an NSAID and an ACE-inhibitor or an angiotensin II antagonist may result in further deterioration of renal function, including possible acute renal failure, which is usually reversible.


When INDOCIN (indomethacin) is administered with aspirin, its protein binding is reduced, although the clearance of free INDOCIN (indomethacin) is not altered. The clinical significance of this interaction is not known.

The use of INDOCIN (indomethacin) in conjunction with aspirin or other salicylates is not recommended. Controlled clinical studies have shown that the combined use of INDOCIN (indomethacin) and aspirin does not produce any greater therapeutic effect than the use of INDOCIN (indomethacin) alone. In a clinical study of the combined use of INDOCIN (indomethacin) and aspirin, the incidence of gastrointestinal side effects was significantly increased with combined therapy.

In a study in normal volunteers, it was found that chronic concurrent administration of 3.6 g of aspirin per day decreases indomethacin blood levels approximately 20%.

Beta-adrenoceptor blocking agents

Blunting of the antihypertensive effect of beta-adrenoceptor blocking agents by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including INDOCIN (indomethacin) has been reported. Therefore, when using these blocking agents to treat hypertension, patients should be observed carefully in order to confirm that the desired therapeutic effect has been obtained.


Administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs concomitantly with cyclosporine has been associated with an increase in cyclosporine-induced toxicity, possibly due to decreased synthesis of renal prostacyclin. NSAIDs should be used with caution in patients taking cyclosporine, and renal function should be carefully monitored.


In normal volunteers receiving indomethacin, the administration of diflunisal decreased the renal clearance and significantly increased the plasma levels of indomethacin. In some patients, combined use of INDOCIN (indomethacin) and diflunisal has been associated with fatal gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Therefore, diflunisal and INDOCIN (indomethacin) should not be used concomitantly.


INDOCIN (indomethacin) given concomitantly with digoxin has been reported to increase the serum concentration and prolong the half-life of digoxin. Therefore, when INDOCIN (indomethacin) and digoxin are used concomitantly, serum digoxin levels should be closely monitored.


In some patients, the administration of INDOCIN (indomethacin) can reduce the diuretic, natriuretic, and antihypertensive effects of loop, potassium-sparing, and thiazide diuretics. This response has been attributed to inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis.

INDOCIN (indomethacin) reduces basal plasma renin activity (PRA), as well as those elevations of PRA induced by furosemide administration, or salt or volume depletion. These facts should be considered when evaluating plasma renin activity in hypertensive patients.

It has been reported that the addition of triamterene to a maintenance schedule of INDOCIN (indomethacin) resulted in reversible acute renal failure in two of four healthy volunteers. INDOCIN (indomethacin) and triamterene should not be administered together.

INDOCIN (indomethacin) and potassium-sparing diuretics each may be associated with increased serum potassium levels. The potential effects of INDOCIN (indomethacin) and potassium-sparing diuretics on potassium kinetics and renal function should be considered when these agents are administered concurrently.

Most of the above effects concerning diuretics have been attributed, at least in part, to mechanisms involving inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis by INDOCIN (indomethacin) .

During concomitant therapy with NSAIDs, the patient should be observed closely for signs of renal failure (see WARNINGS, Renal Effects), as well as to assure diuretic efficacy.


Capsules INDOCIN (indomethacin) 50 mg t.i.d. produced a clinically relevant elevation of plasma lithium and reduction in renal lithium clearance in psychiatric patients and normal subjects with steady state plasma lithium concentrations. This effect has been attributed to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. As a consequence, when NSAIDs and lithium are given concomitantly, the patient should be carefully observed for signs of lithium toxicity. (Read circulars for lithium preparations before use of such concomitant therapy.) In addition, the frequency of monitoring serum lithium concentration should be increased at the outset of such combination drug treatment.


NSAIDs have been reported to competitively inhibit methotrexate accumulation in rabbit kidney slices. This may indicate that they could enhance the toxicity of methotrexate. Caution should be used when NSAIDs are administered concomitantly with methotrexate.


The concomitant use of INDOCIN (indomethacin) with other NSAIDs is not recommended due to the increased possibility of gastrointestinal toxicity, with little or no increase in efficacy.

Oral anticoagulants

Clinical studies have shown that INDOCIN (indomethacin) does not influence the hypoprothrombinemia produced by anticoagulants. However, when any additional drug, including INDOCIN (indomethacin) , is added to the treatment of patients on anticoagulant therapy, the patients should be observed for alterations of the prothrombin time. In post-marketing experience, bleeding has been reported in patients on concomitant treatment with anticoagulants and INDOCIN (indomethacin) . Caution should be exercised when INDOCIN (indomethacin) and anticoagulants are administered concomitantly. The effects of warfarin and NSAIDs on GI bleeding are synergistic, such that users of both drugs together have a risk of serious GI bleeding higher than users of either drug alone.


When INDOCIN (indomethacin) is given to patients receiving probenecid, the plasma levels of indomethacin are likely to be increased. Therefore, a lower total daily dosage of INDOCIN (indomethacin) may produce a satisfactory therapeutic effect. When increases in the dose of INDOCIN (indomethacin) are made, they should be made carefully and in small increments.

Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions

False-negative results in the dexamethasone suppression test (DST) in patients being treated with INDOCIN (indomethacin) have been reported. Thus, results of the DST should be interpreted with caution in these patients.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 7/11/2007

Side Effects

Indocin - User Reviews

Indocin User Reviews

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