Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) vs. naproxen (Aleve) comparison of differences
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are both over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation.
- Common side effects of ibuprofen and naproxen that are similar include:
- Serious side effects of ibuprofen and naproxen that are similar include:
- Both ibuprofen and naproxen both may interact with lithium, blood pressure medications, methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex), aminoglycosides, anticoagulants, cyclosporine, furosemide, and thiazide diuretics.
- Taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or other NSAIDs and consuming more than three alcoholic beverages per day may increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers.
- Taking naproxen or ibuprofen with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.
- Brand names of Naproxen include Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, and Aleve. Brand names of ibuprofen include Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, and PediaCare Fever.
What is ibuprofen? What is naproxen? Are they the same?
Ibuprofen and naproxen belong to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other members of this class include indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), and several others. These drugs are used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. They work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals that are responsible for pain, fever, and inflammation. Naproxen and ibuprofen block the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. Therefore, inflammation, pain, and fever are reduced.
- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) vs. naproxen (Aleve) comparison of differences
- What is ibuprofen? What is naproxen? Are they the same?
- What are the uses for ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
- What are the side effects of ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
- What is the dosage of ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
- What are the drug and alcohol interactions of ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
- Are ibuprofen and naproxen safe to take if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
What are the uses for ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
Ibuprofen is used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation and fever caused by many and diverse diseases. It is used for treating menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Naproxen is used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever.
What are the side effects of ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
Ibuprofen side effects
The most common side effects from ibuprofen are:
- ringing in the ears,
- abdominal pain,
- constipation, and
NSAIDs reduce the ability of blood to clot and therefore increase bleeding after an injury.
Ibuprofen may cause ulceration of the stomach or intestine, and the ulcers may bleed. Sometimes, ulceration can occur without abdominal pain; and due to bleeding, the only signs or symptoms of an ulcer may be black, tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension).
Sometimes, ulceration can occur without abdominal pain, due to the bleeding, and the only signs or symptoms of an ulcer are:
NSAIDs reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys and impair function of the kidneys. The impairment is most likely to occur in patients who already have impaired function of the kidney or congestive heart failure, and use of NSAIDs in these patients should be cautious.
Individuals with asthma are more likely to experience allergic reactions to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs.
Other serious side effects associated with NSAIDs are:
- fluid retention (edema),
- blood clots,
- heart attacks,
- hypertension (high blood pressure), and
- heart failure.
NSAIDs (except low- dose aspirin) may increase the risk of potentially fatal heart attacks, stroke, and related conditions in people with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. The increased risk of heart attack or stroke may occur as early as the first week of use and the risk may increase with longer use and is higher in patients who have underlying risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease. Therefore, NSAIDs should not be used for the treatment of pain resulting from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.
Naproxen side effects
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:
- fluid retention,
- blood clots,
- heart attacks,
- hypertension, and
- heart failure.
What is the dosage of ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
Ibuprofen dosage instructions
- For minor aches, mild to moderate pain, menstrual cramps, and fever, the usual adult dose is 200 or 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
- Arthritis is treated with 300 to 800 mg 3 or 4 times daily.
- When under the care of a physician, the maximum dose of ibuprofen is 3.2 g daily. Otherwise, the maximum dose is 1.2 g daily.
- Individuals should not use ibuprofen for more than 10 days for the treatment of pain or more than 3 days for the treatment of a fever unless directed by a physician.
- Children 6 months to 12 years of age usually are given 5-10 mg/kg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours for the treatment of fever and pain. The maximum dose is 40 mg/kg daily.
- Juvenile arthritis is treated with 20 to 40 mg/kg/day in 3-4 divided doses.
- Ibuprofen should be taken with meals to prevent stomach upset.
Naproxen dosage instructions
- Naproxen should be given with food to reduce upset stomach.
- 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.
- The usual dose for EC-Naprosyn is 375-500 mg twice daily.
- The dose for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis is 500 to 1000 mg every 12 hours.
- Menstrual cramps are treated with 250 mg every 6 to 8 hours after an initial dose of 500 mg.
What are the drug and alcohol interactions of ibuprofen vs. naproxen?
Ibuprofen drug and alcohol interactions
- Ibuprofen is associated with several suspected or probable interactions that can affect the action of other drugs.
- Ibuprofen 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.
- Ibuprofen may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of drugs that are given to reduce blood pressure. This may occur because prostaglandins play a role in the regulation of blood pressure.
- When ibuprofen 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 their elimination from the body is reduced. This may lead to more methotrexate or aminoglycoside-related side effects.
- Ibuprofen increases the negative effect of cyclosporine on kidney function.
- Individuals taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants, for example, warfarin (Coumadin), should avoid ibuprofen because ibuprofen also thins the blood, and excessive blood thinning may lead to bleeding.
- If aspirin is taken with ibuprofen there may be an increased risk for developing an ulcer.
- Persons who have more than three alcoholic beverages per day may be at increased risk of developing stomach ulcers when taking ibuprofen or other NSAIDs.
- Combining SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (for example, fluoxetine [Prozac], citalopram [Celexa], paroxetine [Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva) with NSAIDs may increase the likelihood of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
Naproxen drug and alcohol interactions
- 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 three alcoholic beverages per day may be at increased risk of developing stomach ulcers when taking naproxen or other NSAIDs.
Are ibuprofen and naproxen safe to take if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- There are no adequate studies of ibuprofen in pregnant women. Therefore, ibuprofen is not recommended during pregnancy. Ibuprofen should be avoided in late pregnancy due to the risk of premature closure of the ductus arteriosus in the fetal heart.
- Ibuprofen is excreted in breast milk but the American Academy of Pediatrics states that ibuprofen is compatible with breastfeeding.
- NSAIDs may cause a fetal 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
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are drugs available without a prescription that relieve mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Ibuprofen and naproxen belong to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug class or NSAIDs. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen block chemicals in the body called prostaglandins that promote pain, inflammation, and fever. Blocking prostaglandins in the body reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.
Since both ibuprofen and naproxen are NSAIDs, they have similar side effects and adverse effects. Ibuprofen and naproxen may increase the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Common side effects of both drugs include heartburn, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Other serious side effects include edema, high blood pressure, and heart failure.
Ibuprofen and naproxen are available in a variety of forms and strengths. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about questions you have in regard to NSAIDs.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Back Pain Quiz: Test Your Back Pain IQ
There are numerous causes of chronic lower back pain and only one ailment gets more complaints. What is it? Quiz your knowledge...
Headaches Quiz: Learn About Headache Pain
If you're plagued with headaches, our Headaches Quiz may help you identify causes, triggers, symptoms, and treatments for...
Rheumatoid Arthritis Quiz: What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
How is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid...
Pain Quiz: Test Your IQ of Pain
Is pain all in the brain? Take the Pain Quiz to learn everything you've ever wanted to know about the unpleasant sensation we...
Picture of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more...
Common Causes of Foot Pain
Learn about common causes of foot pain such as bunions, corns, athlete's foot, plantar warts and more. Get the latest information...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Exercises Slideshow: Joint-Friendly Fitness Routines
Regular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our experts offer...
Back Pain: Find Relief, Treat Your Back Pain
Back pain conditions are very common. Learn the truth and get the facts behind myths, remedies, causes and treatment for back...
Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Learn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and...
Osteoarthritis (OA): Treatment, Symptoms, Diagnosis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease affecting both cartilage and bone. Joints most often affected by...
Pain Management: Surprising Causes of Pain
What’s causing your pain? Learn the common causes of lower back pain, as well as pain in the knee, stomach, kidney, shoulder,...
Osteoarthritis: 15 Tips to Improve Daily Living With OA
Osteoarthritis joint pain can make it hard to carry out activities of daily living. Cartilage destruction can cause symptoms like...
Low Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief
Do you suffer from low back pain? Watch this slideshow to see common triggers of lower back pain and what kind of treatments you...
Exercises for Osteoarthritis -- Yoga, Swimming, & More
Check out this slideshow on Active Living From Day to Night with Osteoarthritis. Even with arthritis you can keep your active...
Tips for Healthy Joints: Exercise, Nutrition, & More in Pictures
Dealing with joint pain and arthritis? Learn why weight matters--and why NOT to stretch before exercise. See these solutions for...
Chronic Pain Syndrome: Treatment and Management for CPS
What is chronic pain syndrome (CPS)? See causes, symptoms and treatment options including medications. Learn about pain...
Pain-Relief Tips for Bumps, Bruises, Sprains, and Strains in Pictures
View this First Aid slideshow on Care and Pain Relief. See how to get pain relief if you've bumped your head, sprained your...
11 Exercises for Lower Back Pain Relief
One of the best low back pain treatments is exercise. Learn more about low back pain exercises--what works, and what doesn't....
Pain Management: 15 Easy Ways to Reduce Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be a symptom of many conditions, including arthritis, headaches, and others. Comprehensive pain management...
How to Relieve Sinus Pressure and Pain Naturally
What are sinuses? Sinus pressure and nasal congestion can cause pain and interfere with your daily life. Discover natural...
Arthritis: 16 Bad Habits That Cause Joint Pain
Being overweight, wearing uncomfortable shoes, or carrying a heavy purse can make joint pain and arthritis symptoms worse. Some...
Neck Pain: Causes and Treatment for Relief
What causes chronic neck pain? If you have poor posture, bad sleep habits, or spine problems, these issues can lead to a stiff...
Arthritis: Causes and Treatment for Joint Stiffness and Pain
Arthritis and injuries can leave your joints swollen, tender, and damaged. Discover treatments for morning stiffness, sore...
Back Pain: Bad Habits for Your Back
You’re more likely to have back pain as you get older. Here’s how to avoid making things worse with bad habits....
Pain: Why Does My Head Ache?
Find out what's behind your headache, and get some strategies to bring you relief for your pain....
Back Pain: Tips for Traveling When You Have Back Pain
Don't let back or other pain keep you from your travel adventures. Try these tips to minimize discomfort during your next flight...
Related Disease Conditions
Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within...
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six...
Lower Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae,...
Cuts, Scrapes and Puncture Wounds
Cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds are common, and most people will experience one of these in their lifetime. Evaluating the...
Elbow pain is most often the result of tendinitis, which can affect the inner or outer elbow. Treatment includes ice, rest, and...
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not...
Acute injuries, medical conditions, and chronic use conditions are causes of knee pain. Symptoms and signs that accompany knee...
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also...
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates and ends...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints,...
Strep Throat (Treatment, Causes, Home Remedies)
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea,...
Ear Infection (Otitis Media)
Middle ear infection or inflammation (otitis media) is inflammation of the middle ear. There are two forms of this type of ear...
Neck Pain (Cervical Pain)
Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain....
Swimmer's Ear (Symptoms, Pain Remedies, Treatment, Prevention)
Swimmer's ear (external otitis) is an infection of the skin that covers the outer ear canal. Causes of swimmer's ear include...
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...
Eustachian Tube Problems (Ear Tube Dysfunction, Blockage)
The Eustachian tube is a membrane lined tube that connects the middle ear space to the back of the nose. Symptoms of Eustachian...
Menstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the...
Heat-related illness include heat rash, cramps, exhaustion, stroke, and sunburn. Treatment of heat related illnesses depend on...
Menstrual Cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Medication Guide
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal...
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to...
Pain Management: Musculoskeletal Pain
Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by any type of medical treatment. For women...
Spider Bites (Common, Black Widow, and Brown Recluse)
Most spiders in the United States are harmless; however, black widow and brown recluse spider bites may need medical treatment....
Pain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive...
Foot pain may be caused by injuries (sprains, strains, bruises, and fractures), diseases (diabetes, Hansen disease, and gout),...
Sunburn (Sun Poisoning) Symptoms, Pain Relief, Healing Time
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes. Repeated overexposure to UV...
Menstruation (menstrual cycle) is also referred to as a "period." When a woman menstruates, the lining of the uterus is shed....
Sinus Headache Pain, Symptoms, Treatments, Remedies, and Cures
Sinus headache is caused by a sinus infection or inflammation of the sinus cavities. Symptoms of a sinus headache include pain,...
Sore Throat Home Remedies (Soothe, Pain Relief)
Natural and home remedies for sore throat symptoms and pain relief include essential oils, licorice gargles, slippery elm...
Shoulder and Neck Pain
Shoulder and neck pain may be caused by bursitis, a pinched nerve, whiplash, tendinitis, a herniated disc, or a rotator cuff...
Arthritis, bursitis, IT band syndrome, fracture, and strain are just some of the causes of hip pain. Associated symptoms and...
Headache Natural Home Remedies
Headaches are a common complaint for many people. There are many types of headaches such as migraine, tension, cluster, and the...
Prostatitis vs. BPH (Enlarged Prostate) Differences and Similarities
Prostatitis and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia, enlarged prostate gland) are both conditions of the prostate gland. There...
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Fibromyalgia
Though rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, RA is an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia is a...
Cold and Cough Medicine for Infants and Children
The safety of giving infants and children over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine is important for caregivers to...
Mastoiditis (Symptoms, Treatment, Cure in Adults and Children
Mastoiditis in children and adults is inflammation and/or infection of the mastoid bone, which is located behind the ear. The...
Labyrinthitis (Inner Ear Inflammation) Symptoms, Causes, Contagious, Treatment Cure
Labyrinthitis is inflammation of the labyrinth (the part of the ear responsible for balance and hearing). Doctors do not know...
Migraines and Seizures (Symptoms, Auras, Medication)
Migraines are a type of headache and seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. Migraine headaches and seizures are two...
Migraine and Stroke (Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment)
Migraine headache is a type of headache in which the exact cause is not known; however, they may be inherited, and certain...
Ear Infection Home Treatment
Infections of the outer, middle, and inner ear usually are caused by viruses. Most outer (swimmer's ear) and middle ear...
Inner Ear Infection (Symptoms, Signs, Treatments, Home Remedies)
An inner ear infection or otitis interna is caused by viruses or bacteria and can occur in both adults and children. An inner...
Natural Home Remedies for Sunburn Treatment
There are many natural and home remedies that are used to relieve the symptoms of sunburn. Check out our top 30 tips to cool...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- hydrocodone and ibuprofen, Vicoprofen
- Ibuprofen vs. Meloxicam (Mobic) for Pain
- Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen for Pain (Differences in Side Effects and Dosage)
- Ibuprofen and Plavix (Side Effects and Interactions)
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.