Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is widely used to treat a variety of painful conditions, including arthritis, menstrual cramps, headache, and fever. It is available over-the-counter or by prescription, depending on the strength and dosage form.
Naproxen has been used in the United States since 1980. It is available generically and under many brand names. Naproxen was approved by the FDA in December 1991.
In this article, we will provide an overview of naproxen, including its uses, side effects, precautions, mechanism, dosage, and frequently asked questions.
Uses of Naproxen
Naproxen is commonly used to treat the following conditions:
- Arthritis – Naproxen can help relieve pain and inflammation associated with various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
- Menstrual cramps – Naproxen is effective in reducing menstrual pain and cramps.
- Headache – Naproxen is used to treat migraine headaches, tension headaches, and other types of headaches.
- Fever – Naproxen can be used to lower fever.
- Other pain – Naproxen is also used to treat other types of pain, such as back pain, toothache, and musculoskeletal pain.
Mechanism of Naproxen
Naproxen works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which are substances in the body that cause inflammation and pain. Naproxen blocks the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which is involved in the production of prostaglandins. By reducing the production of prostaglandins, naproxen can help reduce inflammation, pain, and fever. These enzymes help to make other chemicals in the body, called prostaglandins, Blocking of these enzymes resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. These enzymes (COX) are responsible for pain, fever, and inflammation. As a Result Of low concentration of these enzymes inflammation, pain and fever are reduced.
Dosage of Naproxen
The dosage of naproxen depends on the condition being treated, the strength of the medication, and the age and weight of the patient. The recommended dose for adults with mild to moderate pain is 250-500 mg twice daily. For arthritis, the recommended dose is 250-500 mg twice daily, up to a maximum of 1,500 mg per day. Children should not take naproxen unless directed by a doctor.
Dose for Osteoarthritis
- Controlled Release:
750 mg to 1000 mg orally once a day
- Delayed Release:
375 mg to 500 mg orally twice a day
- Immediate Release Tablets and Suspension:
250 mg to 500 mg (naproxen) or 275 mg to 550 mg (naproxen sodium) orally twice a day
Initial dose of 500 mg Orally, then 250 mg PO after every 6-8hr or 500 mg Orally After every 12hr , not to exceed 1250 mg/day on the first day; subsequent doses should not exceed 1000 mg/day naproxen base
In Acute Gout
Initial Dose of 750 mg Orally, followed by 250 mg After every 8hr until attack subsides
Extended release: 1000-1500 mg Once A Day, followed by 1000 mg Once A Day until attack subsides
Side Effects of Naproxen
Like all medications, naproxen can cause side effects. Common side effects of naproxen include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Stomach pain or cramps
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Bloating or gas
- Rash or itching
More serious side effects may occur, such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
- Severe skin rash or blisters
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Kidney problems
If you experience any of these serious side effects, seek medical attention immediately.
Precautions for Naproxen
Before taking naproxen, inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- Allergies to aspirin or other NSAIDs
- Heart disease or high blood pressure
- Liver or kidney disease
- Asthma or other breathing problems
- Stomach ulcers or bleeding
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Naproxen may interact with other medications or supplements, so inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications or supplements. Read below.
Naproxen and Pregnancy
Naproxen may cause harm to a developing fetus, and should not be used in the later stages of pregnancy.
There’s some evidence that it can cause problems for developing babies and increase the risk for maternal bleeding during delivery.
It can interact with the following drugs:
- Certain blood pressure medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
- Certain drugs to treat cholesterol such as cholestyramine
- Diuretic also called water pills
- Methotrexate, which is used for rheumatoid arthritis and some kinds of cancer
- The bipolar disorder drug lithium
- Blood thinners such as warfarin
- Certain drugs for depression such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Certain antacid drugs such as h2 blockers and sucralfate
Frequently Asked Questions About Naproxen
Can I take naproxen with other pain relievers?
A: It is not recommended to take naproxen with other pain relievers, such as aspirin or acetaminophen, without consulting your doctor first. Combining multiple pain relievers can increase the risk of side effects and complications.
Can I drink alcohol while taking naproxen?
A: Drinking alcohol while taking naproxen can increase the risk of stomach bleeding and other complications. It is best to avoid alcohol while taking naproxen.
Can naproxen be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
A: Naproxen should not be taken during the third trimester of pregnancy as it can harm the unborn baby. It should also be avoided during breastfeeding as it can pass into breast milk and harm the nursing baby.
Can naproxen cause addiction or dependence?
A: Naproxen is not addictive and does not cause dependence. However, it should be taken as directed by your doctor and should not be taken for a prolonged period without medical supervision.
How long does it take for naproxen to start working?
A: Naproxen typically takes 30-60 minutes to start working and can provide relief for up to 12 hours.
Naproxen is a commonly used NSAID that can effectively treat pain, inflammation, and fever. It works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which are involved in inflammation and pain. However, like all medications, it can cause side effects and should be taken as directed by your doctor. If you experience any side effects or have any concerns about taking naproxen, speak to your healthcare provider.
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