Mefenamic Acid Review


In this mefenamic acid review, we will discuss the following:

  • what is mefenamic acid?
  • mefenamic acid formulations
  • registered uses
  • dysmenorrhea (period pains)
  • dosage of mefenamic acid
  • precautions and disadvantages

A typewriter being used to type a Review, like this article.


Mefenamic acid is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID). It belongs to the same class of drugs as aspirin, ibuprofen, indomethacin, diclofenac, etc.

NSAIDs exhibit their analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting cyclo-oxygenase. This is an enzyme that leads to the production of mediators of pain and inflammation called prostaglandins.

The drug has been in use for more than half a century.


Mefenamic acid is taken by mouth, or used rectally as suppositories. There is no injectable formulation of mefenamic acid.

Among the oral formulations, there exist:

  • mefenamic acid suspension
  • mefenamic acid capsules
  • mefenamic acid tablets
A picture of green and light green capsules emanating from a bottle. Mefenamic Acid capsules have greenish ± yellowish colouration.
Mefenamic Acid for adults is presented in capsules in many countries. But there are also tablets.


The strength of the different formulations is as follows:

  • mefenamic acid suspension 50mg per 5ml
  • mefenamic acid capsules 250mg
  • mefenamic acid tablets 500mg
  • mefenamic acid suppositories 125mg


A young person grimacing from pain. Holding their Left upper back muscles with the right hand.
Mefenamic Acid is good for musculoskeletal pains, especially of inflammatory origin.
  • Treatment of mild to moderate pain
  • Treatment of inflammation e.g. in rheumatoid arthritis, gout
  • Treatment of period pains (expanded below), perimenstrual syndrome including menstrual migraine
  • Management of fever (in children)


The specific use of mefenamic acid for dysmenorrhea or period pains, needs to be elaborated upon. This is because dysmenorrhea can be a very difficult condition to manage. It also causes a great deal of misery to millions of women.

Dysmenorrhea has two types:

  1. primary dysmenorrhea – onset right from the beginning of menses
  2. secondary dysmenorrhea – onset a while after the commencement of menstrual periods

Mefenamic acid tends to beat many other NSAIDs in controlling dysmenorrhea. It is highly effective. What needs to be emphasised, is that in the case of secondary dysmenorrhea, investigations have to be undertaken.

This is because secondary dysmenorrhea usually points to an underlying cause. Such pathology needs to be ruled out, before mefenamic acid can be prescribed. Pathology usually found at investigation includes infections (pelvic inflammatory disease), uterine fibroids, or even cancer.

A young beautiful woman seated on her bed and holding her lower abdomen because of pain.
Mefenamic Acid is one of the best painkillers available for dysmenorrhoea. The word has to go out!


For adults, the oral dosage is usually 500mg three times daily.

Adolescents can take 1 capsule (250mg) three times daily.

The dose of the suspension differs by age of the child. Please consult the package insert strictly.

The dose of the suppositories differs between children and adults. Please consult the package insert.

Mefenamic acid, like other NSAIDs, should be taken with, or immediately after meals. This is to minimise the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.


Mefenamic acid has the disadvantage of being significantly more expensive than other NSAIDs. In some countries, its cost is exorbitant! However, for conditions like intractable dysmenorrhea, the cost may be worthwhile, given also the efficacy of mefenamic acid.

Like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents that work by inhibiting cyclo-oxygenase, mefenamic acid can cause gastrointestinal tract ulceration, bleeding and perforation. The risk is highest in elderly people above the age of 70, and in people with a history of intolerance of NSAIDs.

An elderly gentleman holding the right side of his face.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs should generally be avoided in older persons above the age of 70. The side effects are just too much in this age group.


Mefenamic acid can have side-effects on the heart and other parts of the body. It can, especially in combination analgesics and / or when taken for too long, damage the kidneys. These side-effects are not peculiar to mefenamic acid, but hold true for other NSAIDs, to differing extents.

In the management of COVID-19, paracetamol is preferred to NSAIDs.


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10 Replies to “Mefenamic Acid Review”

  1. Thank you for sharing this important information here.. I am  a  kind that investigate any form of medication before I use it or give it to the kids. I have not come across Mefenamic acid but whenever I do I will be well armed with the useful information you have shared here. Such knowledge is power because  medications have side effects. thank you 

    1. Hi Bogadi,

      You are most welcome!

      Mefenamic Acid is wonderful in the management of fever in children. It does a better job than paracetamol and we certainly add it where paracetamol seems not to work.


  2. Hello Dr! Thanks for sharing this with the online world, it’s important we know about these things. As a medical practitioner, my contribution to this article is that we should note that there is evidence that supports the use of mefenamic acid for perimenstrual migraine headache prophylaxis, with treatment starting two days prior to the onset of flow or one day prior to the expected onset of the headache and continuing for the duration of menstruation.

    1. Hi Colleague,

      Thanks very much for elaborating on the use of Mefenamic Acid in alleviating perimenstrual problems.

      There you have it dear Readers – that’s what Doctors do and I will add no more! ☺️

  3. Woah… I am just getting to know of Mefenamic acid for the very first time. Thanks for writing this article, and I feel fortunate to be able to read this article and gain so much knowledge on what Mefenamic acid is all about. Most importantly, I also got to learn how Mefenamic acid can be used to ease menstrual pain, and also the precautions and disadvantages involved with using Mefenamic acid.

    1. Hi Kelvin,

      Thanks for reading through the article and providing valuable feedback.

      Mefenamic Acid can also be used to treat all kinds of mild to moderate pain. It is a good NSAID.


  4. A really detailed article and some great content. It is very explanatory and easy to comprehend about the review on Mefenamic Acid. If there is one thing I so much appreciate about this article, it’s the assurance of a dependable information and recommendation you have placed here. You always take your time in impacting the public with a genuine information. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Joshua,

      Thanks very much for your kind words.

      I must say, when I set out to write this article, I was pressed for time and thought I would be creating something very short (without compromising quality). I surprised myself as I went on and on, and absolutely enjoying the writing too!


  5. Hello there! Thank you for dropping this review on mefenamic acid. I must say I really did enjoy going through this review as it is very educative and contains valuable information one needs to hold on to. This is my first time hearing about mefenamic acid and I’m shocked I didn’t know of it. I experience a lot of period pains and if I had known of this earlier I’d have been taking it instead of ibuprofen because it no longer works. The side effects are making me rethink this decision but I’m not sure I’ll consume a lot. Thanks for sharing this. 

    1. Hi Sophie,

      Sorry to hear about the pains you have experienced. But that is exactly why I decided to write the article – in many years of experience I saw how many ladies suffer from dysmenorrhea. But I also saw how many are not aware of wonderful treatments like Mefenamic Acid.

      The good news is that many ladies get better with even ONE DOSE when they do have the pains. So you may not need to consume lots of the Mefenamic Acid.


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