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Naproxen (NSAID, pain medication)

Uses|Precautions & warnings|Side effects|Interactions|Dosage

Naproxen is part of a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), specifically a non-selective cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitor. NSAIDs are used to treat various causes of pain, inflammation, and swelling. It can also aid in reducing fever.

COX inhibitors work by blocking the action of either or both the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for converting arachidonic acid into prostaglandin, which is a group of substances that regulate many cellular processes such as platelet aggregation, vasodilation, gastric mucus secretion, and proinflammatory mediators.

naproxen

Uses

Naproxen is mainly indicated to treat the following conditions:

  • Temporarily relieve minor aches and pains due to:
    • Arthritis
    • Muscle soreness
    • Backache
    • Menstrual cramps
    • Headache
    • Toothache
  • Fever

How should I take this drug?

Naproxen is available as an oral capsule and tablet. The oral capsule and tablet should be taken by mouth without chewing or crushing it. The tablets should be taken with food to prevent gastric irritation.

How do I store it?

This product is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer.

There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. So, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using naproxen?

NSAIDs, including naproxen, are associated with an increased risk of bleeding and gastric ulceration. This risk is further increased in older patients usually over 60 years of age, those taking blood thinners, and those with blood clotting disorders.

Some groups of people with conditions like asthma or allergic rhinitis may experience an exacerbation of symptoms after using NSAIDs.

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

NSAIDs are generally not recommended for use during pregnancy and is contraindicated for use during the 3rd trimester. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.

Naproxen may be excreted in breast milk. This drug should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.

A possible alternative for fever and pain relief is paracetamol.

Side effects

Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these serious, potentially fatal drug reactions:

  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Stroke
  • Ulceration or GI bleeding
  • Severe hypersensitivity reaction
    • Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) or Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
  • Hepatitis or jaundice
  • Nephrotoxicity
  • Bleeding or anemia
  • Seizures

However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects.

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist.

Drugs with known interactions:

  • Other NSAIDs
    • GI distress
    • Ulceration
  • Salicylates (e.g. aspirin)
    • GI distress
  • Anticoagulants
    • Prolonged bleeding
  • Corticosteroids
    • GI bleeding
  • Hydantoins
    • Convulsions/seizures
  • Lithium
    • Decreased elimination
  • Diuretics
    • Decreased sodium excretion
  • Methotrexate
    • Increased toxicity
  • Antihypertensives
    • Decreased control of blood pressure
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
    • GI bleeding
  • Sulfonylureas
    • Increased risk of hypoglycemia

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication. Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.

Does food or alcohol interact with this drug?

The absorption rate is slightly decreased with food, however, taking it with a meal prevents gastrointestinal distress. This drug should not be taken with alcohol as it may increase the risk of gastrointestinal ulceration, bleeding, and hepatotoxicity.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.

What health conditions may interact with this drug?

This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Active bronchial asthma
  • Nasal polyps
  • Rhinitis
  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Other cardiovascular diseases
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
    • Peptic ulcer disease (PUD)
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Conditions that require surgery
  • Renal or hepatic impairment
  • Women with fertility issues or are undergoing treatment

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

What is the dose for an adult?

Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis

Immediate Release Tablets and Suspension: 250 mg to 500 mg (naproxen) or 275 mg to 550 mg (naproxen sodium) orally twice a day

Controlled Release: 750 mg to 1000 mg orally once a day

Delayed Release: 375 mg to 500 mg orally twice a day

Acute Gout

Immediate Release Tablets and Suspension:

  • Initial dose: 750 mg (naproxen) or 825 mg (naproxen sodium) orally once on the first day of the attack
  • Following initial dose: 250 mg (naproxen) or 275 mg (naproxen sodium) orally every 8 hours until the attack subsides

Controlled Release: 1000 mg to 1500 mg orally once on the first day of the attack, followed by 1000 mg orally once a day until the attack subsides.

Pain

Immediate Release (naproxen sodium):

  • 550 mg orally once, followed by 275 mg orally every 6 to 8 hours or 550 mg orally every 12 hours as needed
  • Maximum dose: 1375 mg/day initial total daily dose; thereafter, not to exceed 1100 mg/day

Controlled Release:

  • 1000 mg orally once a day
  • For patients requiring additional analgesia, may increase to 1500 mg orally once a day for a limited time; thereafter, the total daily dose should not exceed 1000 mg/day

Over the Counter:

  • 220 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms persist
  • May take 440 mg orally once in the first hour if needed
  • Maximum dose: 440 mg (in any 8 to 12 hour period); 660 mg (in any 24 hour period)

Fever

Over the Counter:

  • 220 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms persist
  • May take 440 mg orally once in the first hour if needed
  • Maximum dose: 440 mg (in any 8 to 12 hour period); 660 mg (in any 24 hour period)

What is the dose for a child?

Fever

Over the Counter:

  • 12 years or older: 220 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms persist
  • May take 440 mg orally once in the first hour if needed
  • Maximum dose: 440 mg (in any 8 to 12 hour period); 660 mg (in any 24 hour period)

Pain

Over the Counter:

  • 12 years or older: 220 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms persist
  • May take 440 mg orally once in the first hour if needed
  • Maximum dose: 440 mg (in any 8 to 12 hour period); 660 mg (in any 24 hour period)

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Immediate Release Tablets and Suspension:

2 years or older: 5 mg/kg orally twice a day

How is naproxen available?

Naproxen is available in the following brands, dosage forms, and strengths:

  • Flanax 275 mg
  • Flanax Forte tablet 550 mg (Rx-strength)
  • Sarimax film-coated tablet 275 mg, 550 mg (Rx-strength)
  • Skelan tablet 220 mg, 550 mg (Rx-strength)

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated 2 weeks ago
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