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Aspirin vs. Aleve (naproxen): What's the difference?
- Aspirin and Aleve (naproxen) are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in the body.
- Aspirin is also used to prevent blood clots (it is antithrombotic).
- Brand names for aspirin include Bayer Aspirin, Ecotrin, and E.C. Prin.
- Both aspirin and Aleve are available over-the-counter (OTC) and as generics.
- Side effects of aspirin and Aleve that are similar include abdominal pain, nausea, ringing in the ears, rash, and dizziness.
- Side effects of aspirin that are different from Aleve include stomach ulcers, abdominal burning, cramping, gastritis, serious gastrointestinal bleeding, liver toxicity, kidney impairment, and spinning sensation (vertigo).
- Side effects of Aleve that are different from aspirin include headaches, drowsiness, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, fluid retention, and shortness of breath.
What is aspirin? What is Aleve (naproxen)?
Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. It also prevents blood clots (antithrombotic). Other NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), and nabumetone (Relafen). NSAIDs work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals released when there is inflammation that cause pain and fever. NSAIDs block the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), causing lower concentrations of prostaglandins, that results in a reduction of inflammation, pain, and fever. Inhibition of prostaglandins also reduces the function of platelets and the blood’s clotting ability. Because aspirin inhibits the function of platelets for prolonged periods of time, it is used to reduce the risk of another stroke or heart attack in people who have already had a stroke or heart attack.
Naproxen is used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals responsible for pain, fever, and inflammation. Naproxen blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced.
What are the side effects of aspirin and Aleve?
Most patients benefit from aspirin and other NSAIDs with few side effects. However, serious side effects can occur and generally tend to be dose-related. Therefore, it is advisable to use the lowest effective dose to minimize side effects.
The most common side effects of aspirin involve the gastrointestinal system and ringing in the ears.
Gastrointestinal side effects are
- abdominal burning,
- gastritis, and
- even serious gastrointestinal bleeding and
- liver toxicity.
Ringing in the ears
- Should ringing in the ears occur, the daily dose should be reduced.
Other side effects include:
Other side effects and adverse reactions
- Aspirin should be avoided by patients with peptic ulcer disease or poor kidney function, since this medication can aggravate both conditions.
- Aspirin may exacerbate asthma.
- Aspirin can raise the blood uric acid level and is avoided in patients with hyperuricemia and gout.
- Children and teenagers should avoid aspirin for symptoms of the flu or chickenpox because of the associated risk of Reye's Syndrome, a serious disease of the liver and nervous system that can lead to coma and death.
- Aspirin can increase the effect of medicines used to treat diabetes mellitus, resulting in abnormally low blood sugars if blood sugar levels are not monitored.
- NSAIDs should be discontinued prior to elective surgery because of a mild tendency to interfere with blood clotting. Aspirin, because of its prolonged effect on platelets, is best discontinued at least ten to fourteen days in advance of the procedure.
The most common side effects from naproxen are:
- ringing in the ears,
- drowsiness, abdominal pain, nausea,
- fluid retention, and
- shortness of breath.
Other important side effects include:
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What is the dosage of aspirin vs. aleve?
Aspirin should be taken with food. Doses range from 50 mg to 6000 mg daily depending on the use.
- Usual doses for mild to moderate pain are 350 or 650 mg every 4 hours or 500 mg every 6 hours.
- Doses for rheumatoid arthritis include 500 mg every 4-6 hours; 650 mg every 4 hours; 1000 mg every 4-6 hours; 1950 mg twice daily.
- Heart attacks are prevented with 75, 81, 162 or 325 mg daily.
- 160 to 325 mg of non-enteric coated aspirin should be chewed immediately when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.
- The dose for preventing another stroke is 75 to 100 mg daily.
The usual adult dose for pain is 250 every 6 to 8 hours or 500 mg twice daily using regular naproxen tablets. The usual dose for Naprelan controlled release tablets is 750 to 1000 mg given once daily. For EC-Naprosyn, the usual dose is 375-500 mg twice daily.
Naproxen should be given with food to reduce upset stomach. The dose for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis is 500 to 1000 mg every 12 hours. Dysmenorrhea is treated with 250 mg every 6 to 8 hours after an initial dose of 500 mg.
What drugs interact with aspirin and Aleve?
- Aspirin is associated with several suspected or probable interactions that affect the action of other drugs. The following examples are the most common of the suspected interactions.
- NSAIDs may increase the blood levels of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) by reducing the excretion of lithium by the kidneys. Increased levels of lithium may lead to lithium toxicity.
- Aspirin may reduce the blood pressure lowering effects of blood pressure medications. This may occur because prostaglandins have a role in the regulation of blood pressure.
- When aspirin is used in combination with methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) or aminoglycoside antibiotics (for example, gentamicin) the blood levels of the methotrexate or aminoglycoside may increase, presumably because their elimination from the body is reduced. This may lead to more methotrexate or aminoglycoside-related side effects.
- Individuals taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants, for example, warfarin, (Coumadin) should avoid aspirin because aspirin also thins the blood, and excessive blood thinning may lead to serious bleeding.
Naproxen is associated with several suspected or probable interactions that affect the action of other drugs. The following examples are the most common suspected interactions.
- Naproxen may increase the blood levels of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) by reducing the excretion of lithium by the kidneys. Increased levels of lithium may lead to lithium toxicity.
- Naproxen may reduce the blood pressure lowering effects of blood pressure medications. This may occur because prostaglandins play a role in the regulation of blood pressure.
- When naproxen is used in combination with methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) or aminoglycosides (for example, gentamicin) the blood levels of the methotrexate or aminoglycoside may increase, presumably because the elimination from the body of these drugs is reduced. This may lead to more methotrexate or aminoglycoside-related side effects.
- Individuals taking anticoagulants, for example, warfarin, (Coumadin), should avoid naproxen because naproxen also thins the blood, and excessive blood thinning may lead to bleeding.
- Naproxen increases the negative effect of cyclosporine on kidney function and reduces the effect of furosemide (Lasix) and thiazide diuretics because of prostaglandin inhibition.
- Naproxen should be avoided by patients with a history of asthma attacks, hives or other allergic reactions to aspirin or other NSAIDs. If aspirin is taken with naproxen there may be an increased risk for developing an ulcer.
- Persons who have more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day may be at increased risk of developing stomach ulcers when taking naproxen or other NSAIDs.
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Are aspirin and Aleve safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Aspirin is excreted into breast milk and may cause adverse effects in the infant.
NSAIDs may cause a fatal birth defect called ductus arteriosus (early closure of two major blood vessels of the heart and lung) in the third trimester of pregnancy. Therefore, NSAIDs should be avoided during this last part of pregnancy.
A small amount of naproxen is excreted in breast milk. Because the concentration in breast milk is low, breastfeeding while taking naproxen probably is not harmful to the infant.
Pain Management Resources
Aspirin and Aleve (naproxen) are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. Aspirin is also used to prevent blood clots (it is antithrombotic). Brand names for aspirin include Bayer Aspirin, Ecotrin, and many others. Both aspirin and Aleve are available over-the-counter (OTC) and as generics.
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Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. See a picture of Blood Clot and learn more about the health topic.
Related Disease Conditions
Blood Clots (in the Leg)
Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract, and uterus. Risk factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms and treatment depend on the location of the clot.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking, or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, Blood Clot in the Legs)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins, and can be caused by broken bones, trauma to a limb, immobility, medications, smoking, cancer, genetic predisposition, and cancer. Symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis in a leg are swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, and pain. Treatments for DVT include medications and surgery.
Heat Stroke (A Very Serious Condition)
Heat stroke (heatstroke or sun stroke) is a form of hyperthermia. Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, absence of sweating, hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and coma. A victim of heat stroke must receive immediate treatment to avoid permanent organ damage.
14 Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke FAST
Stroke is a serious medical condition. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke call 911 immediately. There are two main types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic (the most common type). A hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to a blood vessel rupture in the brain. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in a blood vessel in the brain, which causes a loss of blood supply to the brain, possibly causing brain tissue death. FAST is an acronym that helps people identify stroke signs and symptoms so they can act fast and call 911. Face drooping, Arm weakness, and Speech difficulty are indicators that a person may be having a stroke and it is Time to seek emergency medical treatment. Additional signs and symptoms of stroke may include weakness, difficulty walking, blurred vision, dizziness, headache, confusion, difficulty speaking, and loss of sensation. Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. Early identification and treatment of stroke helps reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality.
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung)
A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a piece of a blood clot from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) breaks off and travels to an artery in the lung where it blocks the artery and damages the lung. The most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are shortness of breath, chest pain, and a rapid heart rate. Causes of pulmonary embolism include prolonged immobilization, certain medications, smoking, cancer, pregnancy, and surgery. Pulmonary embolism can cause death if not treated promptly.
Pain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain. Some causes of neuropathic pain include: complex regional pain syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. There are a variety of methods to treat chronic pain, which are dependant on the type of pain experienced.
Laryngitis Home Remedies
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx. Inflammation of the larynx is most often caused by viral infections, and have symptoms such as sore throat, cough, problems swallowing, and fever. The voice changes produced by laryngitis may last after the fever and other symptoms of the acute infection has gone away. The best natural home remedy to relieve pain and other symptoms caused by laryngitis include resting your voice and breathing humidified air often. Turning on hot water in the bathroom and then sitting in the steam can soothe and relive laryngitis symptoms. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve) can relieve pain and inflammation caused by laryngitis. Don't give children aspirin to infants, toddlers, children and teens because of the risk of developing Reye's syndrome, which can be fatal. Home remedies like resting your voice and sitting in humidified air can cure laryngitis. Medications like anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can relieve and soothe pain and symptoms caused by laryngitis.
Heart Attack vs. Stroke Symptoms, Differences, and Similarities
Heart attack usually is caused by a clot that stops blood flow supplying oxygen to an area of heart muscle, which results in heart muscle death. Stroke or "brain attack" is caused by a loss of blood supply to the brain (usually a blood clot) or by hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding within the brain), which results in brain tissue death. Both heart attack and stroke usually come on suddenly, produce similar symptoms, can be disabling, and can be fatal. The classic symptoms and warning signs of heart attack are different. Classic heart attack warning signs are chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, pain that radiates to the shoulders, back, arms, belly, jaw, or teeth, sweating, fainting, and nausea and vomiting. Moreover, woman having a heart attack may have additional symptoms like abdominal pain or discomfort, dizziness, clammy skin, and moderate to severe fatigue. The classic symptoms and warning signs that a person is having a stroke are confusion or loss of consciousness, sudden severe headache, speech problems, problems seeing out of one or both eyes, and numbness or weakness of only one side of the body. Moreover, a woman having a stroke may have additional warning symptom and signs like shortness of breath, disorientation, agitation, behavioral changes, weakness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and hiccups. Recognition of stroke symptoms is vital for emergency treatment. The acronym "FAST" stands for recognition of Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and a Time for action. If you experience the symptoms heart attack or stroke (FAST) or see them develop in another person, then contact 911 immediately.
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Migraine and Stroke
Migraine headache is a type of headache in which the exact cause is not known; however, they may be inherited, and certain foods and environmental factors can trigger and may contribute them. A stroke (brain attack) happens when a blood vessel in the brain leaks, bursts, or becomes blocked, which can be caused by many other health problems. Both migraines and strokes can can cause severe head pain (migraine pain usually is only on one side of the head). Migraine aura symptoms may mimic or feel like a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, TIA) because they have similar symptoms and signs like severe headache, numbness in the legs, feet, arms, hands, or face, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Other migraine aura symptoms include vision problems like flashing lights or blind spots in one eye. The main difference between migraine headache and stroke symptoms and signs is that a migraine headaches usually come on gradually while a stroke symptoms come on suddenly and unexpectedly.
Stroke is the third leading killer in the United States. Some of the warning signs of stroke include sudden confusion, trouble seeing with one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance, and more. Stroke prevention and reatable risk factors for stroke include lowering high blood pressure, quit smoking, heart disease, diabetes control and prevention.
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