- A Visual Guide to Migraine Headaches Slideshow
- Headache and Migraine Triggers Slideshow
- Take the Migraines Quiz
- What is naproxen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for naproxen?
- What are the side effects of naproxen?
- What is the dosage for naproxen?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with naproxen?
- Is naproxen safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about naproxen?
What is naproxen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Naproxen belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other members of this class include ibuprofen (Motrin), 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 blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. Naproxen was approved by the FDA in December 1991.
What are the uses for naproxen?
Naproxen is used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever.
What are the side effects of naproxen?
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:
What is the dosage for naproxen?
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.
Which drugs or supplements interact with naproxen?
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.
Is naproxen safe to take if I'm pregnant or 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.
What else should I know about naproxen?
- Anaprox (tablets): 275 and 550 mg
- Naprosyn (tablets): 250, 375 and 500 mg
- Naprosyn suspension: 125 mg/5ml
- EC-Naprosyn: 375 mg
- Aleve: 220 mg
- Naprelan (controlled-release tablets): 375 and 500 mg.
Naproxen should be stored at room temperature: 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve, Mediproxen are the brand names available for naproxen in the US.
Prescription or nonprescription
Aleve is available over-the-counter (OTC, without a prescription), but the other brand names require a prescription from a doctor or other healthcare professional.
Quick GuideMigraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn) is in the class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Naproxen is prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Treatment & Diagnosis
- Lower Back Pain
- Joint Pain
- Menstrual Cramps
- Neck Pain (Cervicalgia)
- Elbow Pain
- Knee Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Foot Pain
- Swollen Ankles and/or Swollen Feet
- Heel Pain
- Jaw Pain
- Arm Pain
- Ankle Pain
- Hip Pain
- Unsteady Gait
- Joint Stiffness
- Swollen Joints
- Wrist Pain
- Toe Pain
- Finger Pain
- Hand Pain
- Joint Cracking (Joint Popping)
- Stiff Neck
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Joint Redness
- Joint Warmth
- Swollen Knee
- Tightness in Chest
- Headaches FAQs
- Fibromyalgia FAQs
- Gout FAQs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis FAQs
- Back Pain FAQs
- Pain FAQs
- Ankylosing Spondylitis FAQs
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Pain Management Over-The-Counter
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Home Remedies for Shingles
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): 17 Warning Signs of Serious Complications
- Osteoarthritis of the Hands
- Home Remedies, Treatment, and Prevention of Sprains and Strains
- Herbs: Toxicities and Drug Interactions
- Pain Relievers and High Blood Pressure
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- flurbiprofen (Ansaid is a discontinued brand)
- phenylbutazone, Butazolidine
- oxaprozin, Daypro
- salsalate, Amigesic, Salflex, Argesic-SA, Marthritic, Salsitab, Artha-G
- indomethacin, Indocin, Indocin-SR (Discontinued Brand in U.S.)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- fenoprofen, Nalfon
- ketoprofen (Discontinued brands: Nexcede, Orudis, Oruvail, Actron)
- nabumetone, Relafen (Discontinued)
- choline magnesium salicylate, Trilisate
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- meloxicam (Mobic) Side Effects
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- Aspirin vs. NSAIDs (Side Effect and Use Differences)
- erenumab (Aimovig)
Prevention & Wellness
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- Drug No Better Than Placebo for Lower Back, Leg Pain
- Valium May Be Useless for Acute Lower Back Pain
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- Common Painkillers Don't Ease Back Pain, Study Finds
- Celebrex May Not Pose Bigger Heart Risk Than Similar Drugs: Study
- Number of Americans With Severe Joint Pain Keeps Rising
- Could Prescribed NSAID Painkillers Raise Heart Failure Risk?
- Over 100 Drugs Pose Risk to Heart Failure Patients
- Beware of Bleeding Risks With Antacids Containing Aspirin
- Acetaminophen Won't Help Arthritis Pain, Study Finds
- Many Chronic Pain Sufferers May Overuse Nonprescription Painkillers
- New Drug for Severe Form of Arthritis Shows Promise in Trial
- Prescription Naproxen as Good as Narcotic Painkillers for Low Back Pain: Study
- Slow Progress on Curbing Wasteful, 'Low-Value' Health Care Practices: Study
- 'Tennis Elbow' Usually Heals Without Therapy, Study Finds
- Low-Dose Aspirin, Other Painkillers May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
- Are We Taking Some Medicines for Too Long?
- Antidepressant, Painkiller Combo May Raise Risk of Brain Bleed
- FDA Strengthens Warning on NSAIDs and Heart Risk
- FDA Strengthens Heart Attack, Stroke Warning for Popular Painkillers
- Could These Common Pain-Relievers Lower Fertility?
- Many Migraine Sufferers Given Narcotic Painkillers, Barbiturates
- Blood Thinner Warfarin May Pose Greater Bleeding Risk for Obese: Study
- Certain Painkillers May Lower Colon Cancer Risk for Some
- Ways to Treat Depression That Aren't Antidepressants
- Certain Painkillers Ill-Advised After Heart Attack: Study
- Study Rates Migraine Medications
- Knee Arthritis Drugs Beat Placebos, but Study Finds No Clear Winner
- Some Painkillers Tied to Bleeding Risk in Those With Abnormal Heartbeat
- Certain Painkillers Tied to Raised Risk of Death After Stroke
- Common Painkillers Tied to Blood Clot Risk, Study Suggests
- More Painkillers May Raise Heart Risks for Older Women: Review
- Drug Shows Promise Against Arthritis Common in People with Psoriasis
- Use Prescription Painkillers Safely
- Daily Aspirin May Guard Against Ovarian Cancer
- Ibuprofen, Aleve Won't Raise Miscarriage Risk: Study
- Avoiding That New Year's Hangover
- Most Medications OK During Breast-Feeding, Report Says
- FDA Warns of Rare Skin Reactions to Acetaminophen
- Common Painkillers Tied to Kidney Risks for Children: Study
- Health Tip: Taking Medications During Pregnancy
- Common Painkillers May Be Risky After Heart Attack
- Can Aspirin, Other NSAIDs Lower Skin Cancer Risk?
- Two-Drug Combo Helps Teens With Migraines
- Scientists Spot How Cox-2 Painkillers Raise Heart Risks
- Migraine Guidelines Focus on Prevention
- Merck to Pay $950M to Settle Probe of Vioxx Marketing
- Long-Term Painkiller Use Linked to Kidney Cancer
- NSAIDs May Raise Miscarriage Risk: Study
- NSAID Pain Relievers Raise Heart Risks
- Acetaminophen: Teen Asthma Trigger?
- Pain Relievers May Reduce Cancer Risk
Migraines and Headaches Resources
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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.