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May 18, 2020

Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is commonly prescribed to relieve inflammation and pain due to:

  • Osteoarthritis– a type of arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- is a chronic inflammatory disorder caused by swelling of the lining of the joints.
  • Juvenile arthritis- a type of arthritis or inflammation of the joint among children.
  • Gout arthritis– a type of joint pain caused by a build-up of certain substances in the joints.
  • Ankylosing arthritis- a form of arthritis that affects the joints of the spine
  • Bursitis- an inflammation of a fluid-filled sac in the shoulder joint.
  • Tendinitis- an inflammation of the tissue that connects muscle to bone.
  • Injuries and inflammation of the muscle and joint such as tendinitis or inflammation of the joint, tennis elbow and periarthritis or frozen shoulder
  • Painful conditions due to accidents such as dislocation, sprains, fractures or strains
  • The non-prescription Naproxen is used to relieve mild pain from headaches, back pain, neck pain, menstrual pain, toothaches, and common colds.

Naproxen is an inexpensive pain killer that comes in a standard tablet, gastro-resistant tablets and liquid.  It is FDA-approved for medical use in the US since 1976. It is available over the counter and as a generic medication. Like other NSAIDs, this drug works by reducing the levels of prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are responsible for fever, pain, and inflammation. Naproxen blocks the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase (COX) in the body from producing prostaglandins. As a result, the concentration of prostaglandin is reduced. Inflammation, pain and fever are also reduced.

When and How to Use Naproxen

The nonprescription form comes as a tablet and gelatin-coated tablet to take orally. The prescription form comes as a regular tablet, delayed-release, and extended-release. The dose and duration of treatment your doctor will give to you depends on what’s causing the pain.

The typical dose for an adult in relieving pain using the regular tablet is 250mg every 6 to 8 hours. You can also take a 500mg tablet two times a day. The dose for the controlled released tablet is 750mg to 1000mg once a day. The dose for ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis is 500mg to 1000 mg every 12 hours. The dose for painful menstrual cramps is 250mg every 6 to 8 hours after an initial dose of 500mg.

The onset of action can be observed within 30 to 60 minutes after intake. The duration of the effect lasts for an average of 8 to 12 hours. Take Naproxen exactly as prescribed by your physician. You may also follow the directions on the prescription label. Take it with a glass of water. You can take this with or without food but if it upset your stomach, take it with food. This helps avoid irritating the stomach and causing abdominal pain or indigestions.

Do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after you take your medicine. Take it at a regular interval. Do not take it more often or for longer than the prescribed duration of treatment. For a missed dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it’s almost time for you to take your next dose. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed one.

What should I know before taking Naproxen?

  • If you are taking the non-prescription Naproxen, do not use it for more than three days within a month.
  • Ask your doctor if it is safe for you if you have:
    • Diabetes
    • Heart failure
    • Suffering from angina pectoris or chest pain
    • Have had a heart attack, stroke or mini-stroke
    • High blood pressure or hypertension
    • Who are dehydrated
    • Blood clotting problems
    • History of allergies or asthma
    • Fluid retention
  • This medicine is not suitable for people with:
    • Heart failure
    • Kidney and liver failure
    • Allergic reactions to NSAID’s or aspirin
    • Bleeding in the gut or peptic ulcers
    • Who are taking any other NSAID painkillers
    • Women who are trying to get pregnant as this medicine can temporarily reduce female fertility
  • Lower dose and extra monitoring are needed for people who are:
    • 65 years old and above
    • Who have disorders that affect the intestine or stomach such as bleeding, ulceration or inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Women who are at least three months pregnant should not take Naproxen as this may increase the risk of miscarriage and malformations. It’s not also recommended for use by breastfeeding women unless absolutely necessary.

Possible Side Effects of Naproxen

The most common side effects include:

  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Shortness of breath

These side effects may go away within a few days if they become severe or won’t go away talk to your doctor. Serious side effects are:

  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of the throat or face
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Trouble breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ulcers in your stomach and intestine with signs like bloody vomit, low red blood counts, stomach pain, skin rash with fever, unusual weight gain

In case of serious side effects seek medical help right away.

Getting the Best Result from Naproxen

  • Do not take any antacids or any ingestion remedies two hours before or after taking this medicine.
  • Your doctor will have to assess your overall benefits and risk if you have risk factors for stroke or heart disease.
  • It’s usually fine to drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. Just be aware that long-term use and high doses can irritate your stomach lining. Drinking alcoholic beverages above the daily recommended limit can increase the risk of stomach lining irritation.
  • Naproxen may interact with other medications including vitamins and herbal supplements. To help avoid drug interactions, inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications.

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