Naproxen side effects, how safe is it, use for inflammation, Naprosyn
January15 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Brand names: Aleve, Anaprox DS, Naprelan, Naprosyn. The over-the-counter form of naproxen sodium, Aleve, is used for temporary relief of minor aches and pains, and to reduce fever.
Naproxen -- a drug available over-the-counter and by prescription -- appears to provide as much relief for low back pain as a narcotic painkiller or a muscle relaxant.


FDA warns about painkillers like ibuprofen, saying they raise the risk of heart attack or stroke. The warning covers drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS for short. They include ibuprofen, sold under brand names like Advil or Motrin; naproxen (Aleve), as well as prescription arthritis drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors, such as Celebrex.

An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that available evidence does not prove that the painkiller naproxen, sold under the brand names Aleve and Naprosyn, carries a lower cardiac risk than rival products.


With serious side effects reported with Vioxx, doctors are looking again at Naproxen. New reports on painkiller risks, based on reviews of dozens of studies including hundreds of thousands of patients, indicate most patients should try naproxen, an older nsaid drug. Experts say it doesn’t raise heart attack or stroke risk as much as newer painkillers — a major worry for older people — and naproxen is inexpensive because generic versions have been around for years.

Why is Naproxen prescribed?
Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve mild to moderate pain and menstrual cramps. Naproxen is also prescribed for relief of the inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and for ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis), tendinitis, bursitis, acute gout, and other conditions. Naproxen also may be prescribed for juvenile arthritis.
   If you aches and pains, and sore throat, during the common cold or flu, naproxen, at a dose of 200 mg, 400, or 600, can be helpful in relieving the aches and pains.

Naproxen side effects, is it safe? Any concerns for danger?
If you take naproxen regularly you could develop ulcers or internal bleeding. Another naproxen side effect is harm to kidneys. A long term naproxen side effect could be hearing loss. Naproxen side effects may not be anticipated. If any naproxen side effects develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible.
     Other side effects of Naproxen may include: Abdominal pain, bruising, constipation, diarrhea, difficult or labored breathing, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, hearing disturbances, heartburn, indigestion, inflammation of the mouth, itching, light-headedness, nausea, rapid, fluttery heartbeat, red or purple spots on the skin, ringing in the ears, skin eruptions, sweating, swelling due to fluid retention, thirst, vertigo, vision changes.


Naproxen can also cause insomnia if taken later in the day or evening, especially at a dose of 600 mg or higher. Many people report sleep problems, not getting a deep sleep.


2006 - Naproxen side effect of heart damage - The popular analgesic naproxen may cause heart problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ordered strict warnings to be put on packages of painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS, including naproxen, a popular NSAID sold over-the-counter by Bayer under the brand name Aleve. The warning labels were ordered because of some studies that suggested NSAIDS might raise heart risks. Writing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Clinical Trials, Martin and colleagues said they looked at data from a trial designed to see if Celebrex might help prevent Alzheimer's disease in high-risk patients. The 2,500 elderly volunteers were given either COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex, naproxen or a placebo for up to 3-1/2 years. It was stopped when concerns rose over the safety of COX-2 inhibitors. The trial showed no increased or decreased heart risk for Celebrex, known generically as celecoxib, compared to placebo. But it did show an increased risk for naproxen. Over three years, 5.5 percent of the patients getting Celebrex had a stroke, heart attack or were diagnosed with congestive heart failure, while 5.6 percent of those getting a placebo did. In comparison, 8 percent of the naproxen patients had such a serious cardiovascular incident or death.

How to take Naproxen

Take it with food to avoid stomach upset.

Who should not take Naproxen
Do not take it if you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to naproxen, aspirin, advil, or similar drugs, if you have had asthma attacks caused by aspirin or other drugs of this type, or if you have ever retained fluid or had hives or nasal tumors, you should not take naproxen. Do not take naproxen if you have kidney or liver disease. It can cause liver inflammation in some people. Do not take aspirin or any other anti-inflammatory medications while taking Naproxen. Naproxen may make some people drowsy or less alert. Avoid driving, operating dangerous machinery, or participating in any hazardous activity that requires full mental alertness if you find that naproxen has this effect on you.

Naproxen drug combination
If it is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining naproxen with the following:

ACE inhibitors such as the blood pressure medication Capoten
Antiseizure drugs such as Dilantin
Beta blockers, including blood pressure drugs such as Inderal
Blood thinners such as Coumadin
Certain water pills (diuretics) such as Lasix
Lithium (Lithonate)
Oral diabetes drugs such as Micronase
Other pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen

If you have more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day, check with your doctor before using painkillers.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
The effects of naproxen during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. Avoid naproxen during the last 3 months of pregnancy. Naproxen appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If naproxen is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with naproxen is finished.

Recommended dosage
Naproxen: ADULTS
Mild to Moderate Pain, Menstrual Cramps, Acute Tendinitis and Bursitis. The starting naproxen dose is 550 milligrams, followed by 275 milligrams every 6 to 8 hours or 550 milligrams every 12 hours. You should not take more than 1,375 milligrams a day to start, or 1,100 milligrams a day thereafter.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Ankylosing Spondylitis
The starting naproxen dose is 275 milligrams or 550 milligrams 2 times a day (morning and evening).

Acute Gout
The starting naproxen dose is 825 milligrams, followed by 275 milligrams every 8 hours, until symptoms subside.

Naproxen: CHILDREN
Juvenile Arthritis
The usual daily dosage is a total of 10 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight, divided into 2 doses. Dosage should not exceed 15 milligrams per 2.2 pounds per day. The safety and effectiveness of naproxen have not been established in children under 2 years of age.