The influence of losses in double-negative metamaterial slabs recently introduced by Graciá-Salgado et al. [Phys. Rev. B 88, 224305 (2013)] is comprehensively studied. Viscous and thermal losses are considered in the linearized Navier-Stokes equations with no flow. Despite the extremely low thicknesses of boundary layers associated with each type of losses, the double-negative behavior is totally suppressed for the rigid structures under analysis. In other words, almost 100% of the energy transmitted into the slab is dissipated by viscothermal effects, in agreement with experimental data. Simulations undertaken for larger structures, using scale factors of up to 20 times, show that double-negative behavior is never recovered. The huge dissipation obtained by these structures leads us to propose them as interesting alternatives to conventional absorbers for specific situations, e.g., when treating low frequencies or when the excitation is narrow banded.