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Naproxen for Pain Management

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Updated May 08, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

What Naproxen Is:

Naproxen is an NSAID that is used to treat mild to moderate pain and inflammation. It is available for over-the-counter purchase, however stronger prescription formulations are also available for more severe pain. Naproxen is often used to treat pain for such conditions as arthritis, bursitis and tendonitis.

How Naproxen Works:

Naproxen, like other NSAIDs, works to decrease swelling and to inhibit pain sensations. The exact way it works is not completely understood. However, researchers believe it plays a role in inhibiting a substance called prostaglandin, which is associated with pain.

Other Names for Naproxen:

Naproxen is a generic name, and also may be known under the following brand names:
  • Aleve
  • Anaprox
  • Naprosyn
  • Naprelan

Naproxen Side Effects:

Like most painkillers, naproxen may cause certain side effects. These often include:
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth or excessive thirst
  • Hearing problems or ringing ears
  • Sleep problems
  • Mouth sores

Serious side effects of naproxen use include a rash or hives, visual changes, painful urination or cloudy urine, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing or swelling in the extremities and/or face. If these develop, seek immediate medical attention.

Other Naproxen Warnings:

Naproxen could interfere or interact with other medicines, particularly other painkillers, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, lithium, diuretics, certain diabetes medications and some antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about using it properly and safely.

Naproxen should not be taken by people with asthma or allergies to other NSAIDs, pregnant women, people with cardiac problems, people with a history of gastrointestinal bleeding or those with renal problems. However, talk to your doctor for specific information.

Naproxen Overdose:

It is possible to overdose on naproxen. Potential signs of a naproxen overdose include:
  • Extreme tiredness, drowsiness or confusion
  • Stomach pain and/or nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A decrease in urination
  • Dizziness

If you take naproxen and notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Sources:

Medline Plus. Naproxen. Accessed 10/6/09. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a681029.html

National Institutes of Health. Naproxen (naproxen) Suspension. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?id=5531

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  3. Chronic Pain
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  5. Using Naproxen for Management of Chronic Pain

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