Naproxen sodium is the generic ingredient in Aleve and several other brands of pain medication.
Naproxen is in a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, substances in the body that play a role in pain and inflammation.
Naproxen has been used in the United States since 1980. It is available generically and under many brand names.
After 14 years as a prescription-only medication, in 1994 naproxen was approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug.
The best-known brand name for OTC naproxen is Aleve, which is made by the Bayer Healthcare.
Other brand names for naproxen include Anaprox DS, Naprelan, Anaprox, EC-Naprosyn, and Naprosyn.
As a prescription-strength drug, naproxen comes in the form of tablets or as a liquid.
Tablets may be coated to protect your stomach, or they may be extended-release tablets that you need to take only once a day.
Nonprescription naproxen is commonly used to relieve pain, swelling, fever, cold and flu symptoms, and headaches.
Heart and stroke risk is greater if you have a history of or risk factors for heart disease.
Naproxen may cause ulcers and bleeding in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Ulcer and bleeding risk is higher if you are elderly.
Because elderly people are more likely to have side effects, you should take the lowest possible effective dose if you are over age 65.
This drug is not recommended for children younger than 2 years.
Always tell your doctor if you are taking naproxen before having any surgical procedure, including dental surgery.
Before you take naproxen, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about any allergies to NSAIDs.
In addition to stroke, heart disease, and gastrointestinal bleeding, other conditions also carry warnings related to naproxen use, so tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any of these conditions:
Naproxen may cause harm to a developing fetus, and should not be used in the later stages of pregnancy.
There's some evidence that naproxen can cause problems for developing babies and increase the risk for maternal bleeding during delivery.
Studies of naproxen use by women who are breastfeeding are inconsistent.
Some evidence suggests that naproxen is safe for a breastfeeding mother to use in moderate doses if her infant is at least one month old.
However, the American Academy of Family Physicians warns that naproxen can accumulate in an infant if a breastfeeding mother uses the drug for an extended period of time.
Ask your doctor if it's safe to use naproxen while breastfeeding. There may be safer alternatives for you and your nursing baby.
Side effects from naproxen are more frequent if you need to take this medication over a long period of time.
Digestive system complaints are the most frequent side effects of naproxen. Others include:
If you have any side effects, stop taking naproxen and call your doctor.
Serious side effects of naproxen that you should call your doctor about right away include:
Always tell your doctor or pharmacist about any drugs you take, including other prescription drugs, other OTC drugs, and any vitamins, dietary supplements or herbal remedies.
Certain drugs are known to interact with naproxen and may cause problems:
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking naproxen.
Drinking alcohol and taking naproxen increases the chance of developing a stomach ulcer or having gastrointestinal bleeding.
Ask your healthcare provider prior to using cold, allergy, or pain medications.
These may contain other medicines similar to naproxen, and taking the products together may give you too much of the medication.
While taking naproxen, avoid sunlight exposure and tanning beds, as you can sunburn more easily.
Your dose of naproxen will depend on which brand and strength you take, which condition is being treated, and your age.
For arthritis, common dosages can range from 500 to 1,000 milligrams (mg). In children, the dose is calculated by body weight.
At lower doses, naproxen works best to relieve pain. Higher doses may be needed to reduce swelling.
Here are general guidelines for naproxen dosages:
Here are some general rules for taking naproxen:
Although naproxen and other NSAIDs have warnings and side effects you need to be aware of, they have been an important treatment for millions of people with muscle, bone, and joint problems for more than 30 years.
Most people can take naproxen without any problems. Make sure you know how to take naproxen safely. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.
An overdose of naproxen may cause:
If you think you have taken an overdose or if someone else may have overdosed on naproxen, call a poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or call 9-1-1.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you think of it, but do not take two doses at the same time, and do not take extra doses.
If you are close to your dose time, take your normal dose.
If you are well past your dose time, skip the missed dose and just wait until your next scheduled dose.
A: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen are powerful and effective drugs. They are routinely used in orthopedic conditions and in the perioperative setting. They are however associated with potentially serious side effects, and it is important to evaluate the risk versus benefit prior to medication use. There is evidence suggesting that these drugs adversely affect bone formation, and this has implications for their use in patients with fractures and other pathologies that involve bone remodelling. Similarly, other data suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs significantly inhibit spinal fusion at doses typically used for postoperative pain control.
A: Naproxen does not appear to cause weight gain in patients taking the medication. High blood pressure medications do not generally cause weight gain, but if you are experiencing a sudden weight change you should consult your physician to rule out fluid retention.
A: According to the medication guide for naproxen, you should not stop taking this medication with out first consulting your health care provider. Naproxen is in a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAID medicines may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to death. This chance increases with longer use of NSAID medicines in people who have heart disease. NSAID medicines can cause ulcers and bleeding in the stomach and intestines at any time during treatment. Ulcers and bleeding can happen without warning symptoms and may cause death. NSAID medicines should only be used exactly as prescribed at the lowest dose possible for your treatment for the shortest time needed. Do not take an NSAID medicine if you had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reaction with aspirin or any other NSAID medicine for pain right before or after heart bypass surgery. Tell your health care provider about all of your medical conditions and all of the medicines you take. NSAIDs and some other medicines can interact with each other and cause serious side effects. These are not all the side effects with NSAID medicines. Talk to your health care provider for more information about NSAID medicines.
A: Depending on the individual, naproxen can have a effect on kidneys. As long as you have good kidney function and no liver disease, you can use naproxen. Your health care provider should monitor your kidney functions as long as you are on this medication . The following are kidney conditions are listed in the literature: glomerular nephritis, hematuria, interstitial nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, nephropathy and tubular necrosis. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your health care provider. I have included a site with more information for you. http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/naproxen Gerald R. Levy, RPh
A: According to the FDA, the use of drugs like naproxen (Brand: Aleve), which are called NSAIDs, have been reported to cause kidney damage especially with long-term use and at high doses. Patients with impaired kidney function (which diabetes can cause over time) should avoid NSAIDs all together if possible. If while taking an NSAID, you develop sudden weight gain or fluid retention (for example, you notice swelling in your legs), notify your doctor right away. NSAIDs such as naproxen can also cause a change in blood sugar and decrease the effectiveness of oral diabetes medications. Check with your doctor before using NSAIDs, if you have diabetes. You may still be able to use them, but you may need to follow your blood sugars closely and, with the help of your doctor, adjust your diabetes medications appropriately. The elderly are at increased risk for side effects such as kidney damage and peptic ulcers from NSAIDs even at low doses. Consult with your doctor for an evaluation of your kidney function, to discuss your concerns about phosphorous in you urine, and for an appropriate course of action regarding the use of Naproxen. http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/naproxen http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/guide/
A: Studies suggest that this is usually a long-term effect over the course of many months. But if a patient has existing stomach problems or if on multiple medications such as aspirin, other NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, Aleve, etc.) stomach problems can be severe. Sometimes if physicians suspect stomach problems, they prescribe other medications to protect against it. Please consult with your physician prior to starting any new medications. Beena Thomas, PharmD
A: Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (or NSAID) that is used to treat pain and inflammation. The most common side effects of naproxen are heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, itching, skin rashes, ringing of the ears, swelling, and shortness of breath. Naproxen, like other NSAIDs, may cause serious cardiovascular side effects, such as heart attack or stroke. Although serious cardiovascular events can occur without warning symptoms, patients should be aware of the signs and symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, slurring of speech, and should contact their health care provider if any of these occur. Michelle McDermott, PharmD
A: As long as you have good kidney function and no liver disease, you can use naproxen. Your doctor should monitor your kidney function as long as you are on naproxen, however. The literature cites effects such as glomerular nephritis, hematuria, interstitial nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, nephropathy, and tubular necrosis. Since your doctor knows your medical condition, discuss any concerns you have about naproxen with him or her. For more information about naproxen, go to http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/naproxen. Gerald S. Levy, RPh
A: Naproxen is a medication used to treat pain and inflammation and is part of a class called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by blocking a hormone, called prostaglandin, that contributes to inflammation in the body. According to the prescribing information on Naproxen the most common side effects of this medication are: heartburn, nausea, constipation, headache, ringing in the ears, and fluid retention. These effects were seen in up to 3 percent of patients taking the medication during clinical trials. For more information on naproxen, visit http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/naproxen. If you feel you are experiencing fluid retention due to this medication, it would be best to consult with your physician to be sure that no other underlying condition is contributing to the problem. He or she will help you come up with a plan to deal with this issue. For more information on rheumatoid arthritis, visit http://www.everydayhealth.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/guide/. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Lori Poulin, PharmD
A: Aleve is a brand name of naproxen, so they are the same. Naproxen is in a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs work by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Naproxen is used to treat pain or inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendonitis, bursitis, gout, or menstrual cramps. Common side effects of naproxen include upset stomach, mild heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, dizziness, headache, nervousness, blurred vision, and ringing in the ears. This is not a complete list of side effects that can occur with naproxen. Using NSAIDs can increase the risk of serious side effects, such as heart attack, stroke, and bleeding from the digestive tract. The risk of heart attack and stroke increase with long-term use of NSAIDS. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech, or problems with vision or balance. Bleeding from the digestive tract can happen at any time during treatment with an NSAID. Contact your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of bleeding from the digestive tract, such as black, bloody, or tarry stools, or coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds. Always read and follow the complete directions and warnings on over-the-counter medicines and discuss their use with your health care provider before taking them. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or local pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications. Sarah Lewis, PharmD
A: Naprosyn (naproxen) is anti-inflammatory medication commonly used to treat mild to moderate pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, and fever. Naprosyn (naproxen) could be used to relieve dental pain caused by inflammation and swelling. Common side effects of Naprosyn (naproxen) are constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache, dizziness, and drowsiness. This is not a complete list of possible side effects for Naprosyn (naproxen). Naprosyn (naproxen) should be taken with milk or food as prescribed by your physician. Naprosyn (naproxen) should not be taken with any other blood thinners (e.g. Coumadin) or other anti-inflammatory medication (e.g., Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen, or Aleve) unless directed by a physician. When your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals, and herbals, as well as the foods you eat. Always keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your health care providers and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescription medications and over-the-counter products. This allows your pharmacist to keep a complete record of all your prescription drugs and to advise you about drug interactions and side effects. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Jennifer Carey, PharmD
A: Naproxen is in a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body and is used to treat conditions such as arthritis. Common side effects of naproxen include dizziness, drowsiness, stomach upset, mild heartburn, and rash. All NSAIDS can increase the risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use naproxen. Don't use this medicine just before or after having heart bypass surgery. Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech, or problems with vision or balance. NSAIDS can also increase the risk of serious effects on the stomach or intestines, including bleeding or perforation. These conditions can be fatal, and gastrointestinal effects can occur without warning at any time while you are taking naproxen. Older adults may have greater risk of these serious gastrointestinal side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of bleeding in your stomach or intestines. This includes black, bloody, or tarry stools, or coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds. Consult your health care provider for any specific concerns you have about using naproxen. For more information about this medication, go to http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/naproxen. Sarah Lewis, PharmD
A: Your question regards if Naprelan (naproxen) has a generic equivalent. To the best of my knowledge, there is no generic equivalent available for Naprelan. However, the active medication in Naprelan is naproxen. The medication Naprosyn also has naproxen as the active ingredient and that product is available in a generic. The medications have a different release into the body. Naprelan is usually dosed once daily, and it is a controlled release tablet while Naprosyn is dosed more often. As always, talk with your health care provider about questions you have about your medications. Jen Marsico, RPh
A: Over-the-counter medications for pain include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the analgesic Tylenol (acetaminophen). Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) is an NSAID used for pain and inflammation. Doses of 200 to 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours or 1200 mg daily can be used over the counter. Naproxen (Aleve) is another over the counter NSAID. Naproxen can be taken at doses of 200 mg every 12 hours. NSAIDs should be avoided in patients with kidney or liver disease, patients with heart disease or a history of stomach ulcer or bleeding. Aspirin can also be considered an NSAID, but it should not be used in doses high enough to treat pain without the direction of a physician due to bleeding risks. Tylenol is an analgesic used to treat mild to moderate pain and fever. The maximum daily dose of Tylenol is 4000 mg (4 grams) daily. It is important to note that some prescription pain medications or cough and cold medications also contain acetaminophen. It is important to not take more than 4 grams of acetaminophen a day from all sources. Tylenol can affect the liver, so patients who already have liver damage should avoid taking Tylenol. Patients who drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks a day should also avoid taking Tylenol due to the increased risk of liver damage. Tylenol typically does not upset the stomach the way NSAIDs, such as naproxen, can. There are also many prescription pain medications available for moderate to severe pain that cannot be treated with an over-the-counter medication. If you have chronic pain or short term pain that is not relieved by over-the-counter medications, it is best to see your doctor who may evaluate your pain and decide to prescribe a pain medication. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Laura Cable, PharmD
A: Naproxen (Naprosyn) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that blocks substances in the body that normally cause pain and inflammation. Naproxen is indicated for pain associated with headache, cramps, and other pain. Naproxen is also used for pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and used as a fever reducer. Some of the common side effects associated with naproxen include constipation, diarrhea, headache, nausea, and stomach upset. According to the prescribing information, there are warnings associated with the use of naproxen. Long-term used of naproxen can increase the risk of serious cardiovascular events such as strokes and heart attacks. The risk of a serious adverse event can increase with the duration of treatment with naproxen. Naproxen should not be used just before or after coronary artery surgery. People with cardiovascular risk factors, those who are 60 years of age or older, have stomach ulcers or bleeding problems, take blood thinners or drink alcoholic drinks while taking naproxen are at a greater risk of a complication. Naproxen can increase the risk of serious stomach and intestine problems including bleeding or forming a hole (perforation). Talk to the doctor if signs and symptoms of bleeding occur. These symptoms include black, tarry or bloody stools or coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds. Alcohol can increase the risk of stomach bleeding caused by naproxen. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Naproxen can worsen existing hypertension (high blood pressure), so talk to your doctor if you have hypertension. The lowest dose and shortest duration of treatment with NSAIDs for effective therapy is usually recommended. However, talk to your doctor if naproxen is not relieving the pain. Do not stop taking naproxen or take more medicine than what is prescribed. For more specific information and guidance on your current treatment based on your medical condition, consult with your healthcare provider. Kimberly Hotz, PharmD
A: Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs work by blocking substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation. Naproxen is used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation caused by a wide variety of conditions, including arthritis, bursitis, gout, headache, ankylosing spondylitis, tendonitis, menstrual cramps, and minor injuries. Common side effects of naproxen include nausea, stomach upset, heartburn, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, and ringing in the ears. A search of a drug database shows that anemia can occur in up to 10 percent of patients taking NSAIDs, including naproxen. This would be considered a frequent or common side effect. Consult with your doctor if you are concerned about anemia or if you are experiencing symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, pale skin, coldness, or dizziness. This is not a complete list of risks or side effects that can occur with naproxen or any other NSAID. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or local pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Sarah Lewis, PharmD
A: Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to reduce pain and inflammation in a variety of conditions, including arthritis and gout. Naproxen and other NSAIDs can be irritating to the stomach, causing inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine. To reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects, patients should receive the lowest effective dose of naproxen for the shortest period of time to adequately relieve symptoms. Other gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. If you think you are experiencing a side effect from your medication, talk to your doctor. Do not stop or change your medication unless your doctor directs you to do so. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Michelle McDermott, PharmD
By Chris Iliades, MD | Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
Latest Update: 2014-03-17
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