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Naproxen

(Na-PROX-en)

For treating pain, tenderness, inflammation, and fever

Disclaimer

The content on this page is not medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage are right for you.

Last updatedAugust 27, 2021

Naproxen

Naproxen is taken for pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

It is also taken for tendonitis, bursitis, acute gout, and cramps related to menstrual period.

Over-the-counter naproxen is taken to reduce fever and pain.

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Brand name

Naprosyn, EC-Naprosyn (delayed-release), Anaprox DS (naproxen sodium), Aleve
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Rx or OTC

By prescription and over-the-counter

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Black box warning

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen increase the risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including heart attack and stroke, which may be fatal. This risk may occur early in treatment and may increase with use.

Naproxen should not be taken by people undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

NSAIDs also increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal (GI) events including bleeding, ulcers, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during treatment and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients and those with a history of ulcers and/or GI bleeding are at an increased risk for serious GI events.

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When & How

  • Prescription naproxen tablets, delayed-release tablets, and liquid are usually taken twice a day for arthritis.
  • Tablets and liquid are usually taken every 8 hours for gout, and every 6 to 8 hours as needed for pain.
  • If you are taking liquid naproxen, shake well before use and use the measuring cup provided to measure each dose.
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Do’s

  • Take naproxen exactly as prescribed by your doctor, or according to the drug information on the over-the-counter (OTC) package.
  • If you are taking naproxen daily, try to take it around the same time every day to help remember.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose (do not double your regular dose).
  • Naproxen may be taken with food or milk to avoid nausea.
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Don’ts

  • Do not split, chew, or crush delayed-release tablets.
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Discuss with your doctor

  • Stop taking naproxen and talk to your doctor right away if your fever lasts more than 3 days; your symptoms get worse; or you develop new or unexpected symptoms.
  • If your pain lasts for more than 10 days while taking naproxen
  • If the part of your body that was painful becomes red or swollen
  • If your skin seems fragile or blisters (your doctor should stop treatment and monitor your symptoms)
  • If you have a history of asthma, rash, or other allergic-type reactions after taking naproxen, aspirin or other NSAIDs
  • If you have any history of asthma
  • If you are pregnant (naproxen should not be taken after about 20 weeks of pregnancy)
  • If you plan to become pregnant, as naproxen may cause temporary infertility
  • If you have a history of anemia (low iron in the blood)
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking naproxen.
  • If you are getting blood tests, tell your doctor or laboratory that you are taking naproxen.
  • If you have Paget’s disease of bone or Bartter syndrome, talk to your doctor about the risks of using naproxen for these conditions.
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What is Naproxen?

Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat pain, swelling, and inflammation of osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine), and pain from other causes.

Naproxen works by stopping the body’s production of prostaglandins, a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation.

Non-prescription naproxen is also used to reduce fever and relieve mild pain from headache, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and other causes.

Naproxen is available by prescription and over-the-counter.

Naproxen dosages
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Tablets and liquid

  • 220 mg tablet (OTC)
  • 375 mg tablet (Rx)
  • 500 mg tablet (Rx)
  • 550 mg tablet (Rx)
  • 125 mg/5 mL oral suspension (Rx)

Similar drugs to Naproxen

Other NSAIDs include Rx: diclofenac (Voltaren), celecoxib (Celebrex); ibuprofen, extended-release aspirin; OTC: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin

Side effects

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Common side effects

  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Bruising
  • Swelling

Serious side effects include (seek urgent medical care)

  • Worsening of kidney disease
  • New or worsening high blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding

Full list of side effects

  • Swelling
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash
  • Bruising
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Worsening of kidney disease
  • New or worsening high blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding

Long-term complications

  • The risk of heart attack or stroke increases with long-term use of naproxen.

Safety notes

  • Increased risk of heart attack or stroke in the first 10–14 days after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery
  • Increased risk of serious gastrointestinal effects, including inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or large intestine, which can be fatal
  • Worsening of symptoms or heart attack, hospitalization, or death in patients with heart failure
  • You should not take naproxen if you have had asthma, hives, or other allergic reactions to aspirin or other NSAIDs
  • Do not take OTC naproxen with any other medication for pain unless your doctor tells you to do so.
  • You and your doctor may want to consider another drug, or only take naproxen for a short period of time, if you are 65 years of age or older.
  • Naproxen may make you dizzy, drowsy, or depressed. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how it affects you. Alcohol can add to the potential drowsiness caused by naproxen.

What else you should know

  • If you are taking naproxen for arthritis, your symptoms may improve within 1 week, but it may take 2 weeks or longer to feel the full benefits of the drug.

Naproxen interactions

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these medications or supplements

  • Taking naproxen with drugs like anticoagulants that affect bleeding increases the risk of severe bleeding.
  • Drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake (including many antidepressants) may increase bleeding risk when taken with naproxen.
  • Taking naproxen with other NSAIDs, aspirin, or salicylates increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and is not recommended.
  • NSAIDs like naproxen may decrease the effect of blood pressure medications like angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or beta-blockers (including propranolol).
  • Taking NSAIDS like naproxen with ACE inhibitors or ARBs to manage blood pressure in patients who are elderly or who have kidney disease can worsen kidney function.
  • Taking naproxen or other NSAIDs with digoxin, lithium, methotrexate, cyclosporine, or pemetrexed increases the concentration or toxicity associated with these drugs, so your doctor should monitor for signs of toxic effects.
  • Taking naproxen with certain antacids, including magnesium oxide or aluminum hydroxide, can delay the absorption of naproxen and is not recommended.
  • Taking naproxen with cholestyramine can delay the absorption of naproxen and is not recommended.
  • Taking naproxen with probenecid increases naproxen levels and extends its activity, so your doctor may suggest changing your naproxen dose.
  • Naproxen may interact with albumin-bound drugs such as sulfonylureas, hydantoins, or coumarin-type anticoagulants, so your doctor may monitor to see if you need a change in your naproxen dose.

Tell your doctor if you have any of these pre-existing conditions

  • Liver disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • A history of stomach ulcers or stomach bleeding
  • Bleeding disorders
  • If you are pregnant or plan to be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding

Naproxen pricing

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