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Naproxen Uses, Side Effects & Interactions

By Medic, Apr 23, 2016 | |
  1. A non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), Naproxen relieves fever, pain, stiffness and fever. Naproxen is primarily used to alleviate pain and inflammation of tendinitis, ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis, gout, bursitis and menstrual cramps.


    How does it work?

    Naproxen works by blocking the effect of certain chemicals in the body, known as cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These enzymes are instrumental in making prostaglandins that are produced at sites of injury or distress and cause pain and inflammation. By blocking the effect of COX enzymes, the body produces fewer prostaglandins, thereby relieving pain and inflammation.

    Uses and Dosage

    If a patient suffers from pain due to muscle aches, dental pain, tendonitis, headaches or menstrual pain, Naproxen helps relieve it. It also brings relief to those who suffer from joint stiffness, swelling and pain of bursitis, gout and arthritis. Since it belongs to the NSAID group of medicines, it works to block prostaglandins that cause inflammation.

    It is also taken to relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis, juvenile arthritis, tendonitis or bursitis, menstrual period pain, gout pain and inflammation. Naproxen's delayed-release tablets are best for treating arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis in their chronic forms. However, it the pain is acute, these tablets will not work fast to relieve acute pain.

    PainDepending on severity 250 mg tablet can be taken every 8 hours or every 6 hours. If needed dose could be modified to 500 mg once every 12 hours. Dose should be limited to 1000-1250mg per day

    Rheumatoid Arthritis
    250-500 mg orally twice a day. For severe pain dose could be increased to 500mg-750 mg twice a day for limited time depending on patient tolerance.
    Extended release tablets 750-1000 mg once a day can also be prescribed. If required this dosage can be increased upto 1500mg.
    Acute gout750mg dose to start, followed by 3 times a day 250mg doses until the attack subsides.
    Extended release dose of 1000mg per day is also seen to be effective. If pain does not subside dose may be increased to 1500 mg per day.
    Dysmenorrhea250 mg every 8 hours and can be upped to every 6 hours depending on severity. Extended release dosage of 500mg twice a day can be given too. Total dose not to exceed 1000 mg per day.
    Ankylosing Spondylitis250-500 mg orally once every 12 hours. For acute pain, dosage could be increased to 500mg-750 mg once every 12 hours.
    Extended release tablets 750-1000 mg once a day can also be prescribed. If required this dosage can be increased upto 1500mg.
    Migraine 250 mg every 6 hours. Can be upped to maximum of 1250 mg per day in divided doses.

    Naproxen Efficacy Metric

    Based on thousands of online reviews, forum discussions and our own personal conversations with doctors and patients, we have classified the efficacy of naproxen in treating various ailments.
    ConditionTreatment Efficacy
    Ankylosing SpondylitisEffective
    Back PainModerately Effective
    CostochondritisVery Effective
    Acute GoutVery Effective
    Muscle PainModerately Effective
    OsteoarthritisModerately Effective
    Period PainVery Effective
    Rheumatoid ArthritisEffective
    SciaticaModerately Effective

    How to use Naproxen

    It is always helpful if the patient reads the Medication Guide provided by his pharmacist before he starts on a course of Naproxen. If he has any doubts, he must check them out with his doctor or pharmacist.

    Ideally, Naproxen should be taken orally, or as the doctor directs, but usually it is taken two to three times a day with a glass of water. The patient should remember not to lie down till after 10 minutes after taking this medication. To keep stomach upset at bay, it's preferable to take this drug with milk, food or an antacid.

    The doctor will prescribe a dosage depending on the patient's medical condition and response to the treatment. Doctors usually prescribe the lowest dose of this medication to reduce the risk of stomach bleeding and related side-effects. Patients should not take more of this drug than prescribed. For long-standing conditions like arthritis, this medication should be taken for as long as the doctor directs. Patients with arthritis should wait for two weeks of the course to get its full benefit.

    If patients aren't taking this drug regularly but only "as needed," they will experience the best performance of this pain drug if they take it when they get the first signs of pain. Naproxen may not be as effective if taken after the pain has set in. If after two weeks the patient does not feel better, he should inform his doctor.

    Side Effects

    Adverse EffectPrevelance
    Abdominal pain4-8%
    GI Bleeding1-3%
    GI perforation1-3%
    GI ulcers1-3%
    Fluid retention3-9%
    Sleeping disturbances~2%

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