- 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:
Quick GuideMigraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
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.
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
- Finger Pain
- Toe Pain
- Hand Pain
- Wrist Pain
- Joint Pain
- Arm Pain
- Ankle Pain
- Swollen Ankles and/or Swollen Feet
- Hip Pain
- Joint Cracking (Joint Popping)
- Foot Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Tightness in Chest
- Elbow Pain
- Stiff Neck
- Jaw Pain
- Joint Stiffness
- Lower Back Pain
- Swollen Joints
- Knee Pain
- Heel Pain
- Neck Pain (Cervicalgia)
- Menstrual Cramps
- Unsteady Gait
- PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
- Joint Redness
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Swollen Knee
- Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)
- Joint Warmth
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Headaches FAQs
- Fibromyalgia FAQs
- Gout FAQs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis FAQs
- Back Pain FAQs
- Pain FAQs
- Ankylosing Spondylitis FAQs
- 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
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- 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
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- meloxicam (Mobic) Side Effects
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Drugs: What You Should Know About Your Drugs
- indomethacin, Indocin, Indocin-SR (Discontinued Brand in U.S.)
- Drug Interactions
- nabumetone, Relafen (Discontinued)
- erenumab (Aimovig)
- Aspirin vs. NSAIDs (Side Effect and Use Differences)
- flurbiprofen (Ansaid is a discontinued brand)
- phenylbutazone, Butazolidine
- oxaprozin, Daypro
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- fenoprofen, Nalfon
- ketoprofen (Discontinued brands: Nexcede, Orudis, Oruvail, Actron)
- salsalate, Amigesic, Salflex, Argesic-SA, Marthritic, Salsitab, Artha-G
- choline magnesium salicylate, Trilisate
Prevention & Wellness
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- Many Migraine Sufferers Given Narcotic Painkillers, Barbiturates
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- FDA Warns of Rare Skin Reactions to Acetaminophen
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- NSAID Pain Relievers Raise Heart Risks
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- Pain Relievers May Reduce Cancer Risk
Migraines and Headaches Resources
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.
Top naproxen Related Articles
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HeadacheHeadaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Liver Blood TestsAn initial step in detecting liver damage is a simple blood test to determine the presence of certain liver enzymes in the blood. Under normal circumstances, these enzymes reside within the cells of the liver. But when the liver is injured, these enzymes are spilled into the blood stream, and can lead to diseases like fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hepatitis. Several medications also can increase liver enzyme test results.
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Pinched Nerve OverviewA pinched nerve causes pain, numbness, or tingling in the affected area due to pressure on a nerve. Caral tunnel and sciatica are two examples of conditions caused by a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve is diagnosed by taking a patient history and performing a physical examination. Electromyography may be performed. Treatment for a pinched nerve depends on the underlying cause.
Take the RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
Root CanalA root canal is a dental procedure that's used to save an infected tooth. Treatment involves removing the tooth's nerve and pulp and then cleaning and sealing the tooth. Symptoms and signs that indicate a root canal is needed include toothache, discoloration, swelling, tenderness, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, and a persistent pimple on the gums. Typically, a root canal is no more painful than having a filling placed.
SciaticaSciatica pain, caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, typically radiates from the low back to behind the thigh to below the knee. Disc herniation is usually the cause of sciatica. Medication to alleviate pain, physical therapy, and bed rest are treatments for sciatica.
Sciatica SlideshowSciatica pain radiates from the lower back toward the feet. Sciatica may feel like a cramp in the leg, burning, tingling, pins and needles, or numbness. Learn about sciatica causes, exercises, treatment and pain relief.
Sore Throat Home Remedies and Treatment
Natural and home remedies for sore throat symptoms and pain relief include essential oils, licorice gargles, slippery elm leaves, raw garlic, Throat Coat tea, sage, and acupuncture. Typical symptoms of a sore throat include throat pain, coughing, sneezing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Sore throats are caused by viral (common cold, flu, mumps), bacterial (tonsillitis, some STDs), toxins, allergens, trauma or injury, or "mechanical causes" (breathing through the mouth).
Trigger Point InjectionTrigger point injection (TPI) treats knots of muscles that form when muscles don't relax. During the procedure, a needle containing anesthetic and/or corticosteroid is inserted into the trigger point. TPI may be used to treat fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, and tension headaches.