Naprosyn (Naproxen) - Oral

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What Is Naprosyn?

Naprosyn (naproxen) is a prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve pain associated with medical conditions. Naprosyn works by blocking specific enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2), which produce factors responsible for pain, inflammation, and fever.

Naprosyn is available by prescription in the following dosage forms:

  • Immediate, delayed-release, and enteric-coated (EC) tablets
  • Oral suspension
  • Liquid-filled capsules

A salt-based form of naproxen, called Anaprox DS or Anaprox (naproxen sodium), is also available. You can also purchase an over-the-counter (OTC) version of naproxen, Aleve.

Drug Facts

  • Generic Name: Naproxen
  • Brand Name(s): Naprosyn, Aflaxen, Aleve, Aleve Arthritis, Anaprox, Anaprox DS, EC Naprosyn, Naprelan
  • Drug Availability: Prescription
  • Therapeutic Classification: Cardiovascular agent
  • Available Generically: Yes
  • Controlled Substance: N/A
  • Administration Route: Oral
  • Active Ingredient: Valsartan
  • Dosage Form(s): Tablet, capsule, suspension

What Is Naprosyn Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Naprosyn to manage mild to moderate pain, swelling, and inflammation from medical conditions, including headaches and menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).

Naprosyn is indicated to relieve symptoms associated with:

Prescription NSAIDs are commonly prescribed to people with musculoskeletal conditions that require relief from pain and swelling.

The musculoskeletal system involves the bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and bursae or the tiny sacs filled with fluid that allow your joints to move smoothly. NSAIDs also play a crucial role in the recovery of musculoskeletal injuries. When taken as directed, NSAIDs are a safe and effective therapy to manage any minor injuries for a short duration of time.

How to Take Naprosyn

This oral medication can be taken as an immediate or extended-release (or delayed-release) tablet, suspension form, or even topically. If you are taking the extended-release Naprosyn tablets, swallow them whole. Do not crush, split, chew, or try to dissolve them.

You can take Naprosyn with food, milk, or antacids to help decrease the chances of an upset stomach. If you are taking antacids, avoid taking any with ingredients such as magnesium oxide or aluminum hydroxide. If you are going to take an antacid, the recommendation is to take one containing aluminum and magnesium hydroxide. This is preferred over others.

If you are taking the EC tablets, make sure you take the antacid and your Naprosyn dose at least two hours apart from each other.

As a rule for all NSAIDs, Naprosyn treatment should begin with the lowest effective dose and be used for the shortest possible duration. If your pain is severe enough, your provider may prescribe opioid medications as well. Examples of opioids include hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine.

For less severe pain, you can take Naprosyn with other pain relievers like Tylenol. However, it should not be taken together with other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and celecoxib.

Storage

Store Naprosyn in a tightly closed container away from light, heat, and moisture. The medication may also be stored at a temperature of 59 F to 86 F. Do not store your medication in the refrigerator, inside your car, or in an area with a lot of moisture such as a bathroom cabinet. Keep it in a high or safe place away from children and pets.

Off-Label Uses

Healthcare providers may prescribe Naprosyn off-label, either on its own or in combination with other therapies, to help treat symptoms of migraine headaches.

Naprosyn can treat mild to moderate episodes of migraine headaches that do not involve severe nausea and vomiting when used alone. If you experience severe migraine headaches, your medical provider might prescribe this medication along with triptans to optimize your migraine therapy.³ Some examples of triptans are sumatriptan and rizatriptan. If it ends in “triptan,” then it might be in the triptan drug class.

Do not take any other migraine medication within 24 hours of taking a triptan and naproxen combination treatment. Do not take a triptan along with Naprosyn without guidance from your prescriber. The combination requires higher monitoring because of the increased risk of a disorder called serotonin syndrome if you take other medications. Additionally, taking triptans too often or too much at a time can cause rebound headaches, also known as medication overuse headaches.

How Long Does Naprosyn Take to Work?

How long it takes to work will vary from person to person. Generally, it will take Naprosyn around 30 minutes to an hour to start working.

What Are the Side Effects of Naprosyn?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

All drugs have side effects associated with their use, although you may not experience any side effects. These are some common and severe side effects that can occur when taking Naprosyn.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects associated with Naprosyn include:

  • Upset stomach and nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Gas

Although these side effects may not seem severe, they may become more of a problem if they do not resolve within the duration of the therapy. It is best to contact your healthcare provider if any of these symptoms persist or worsen.

Severe Side Effects

More severe side effects of Naprosyn can include:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Changes in mental health or mood
  • Heart failure symptoms such as swelling in the ankles and feet, tiredness, and sudden weight gain 
  • Sores in your stomach and gastrointestinal tract
  • Decrease in kidney function
  • Inflammation of your pancreas and colon
  • Heart problems

Other serious side effects can include kidney failure, liver failure, or a severe allergic reaction to the medication. Symptoms should be observed to help identify the allergic reaction. If you notice a rash, constant itching, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing, call 911 and retrieve quick medical attention if these symptoms worsen.

Signs or symptoms of liver failure may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting that do not go away
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • Jaundice or the yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Dark urine

Long-Term Side Effects

Long-term side effects of NSAIDs include:

NSAIDs primarily work by reducing the lipid compounds called prostaglandins. Although prostaglandins mainly cause inflammation, some of them do have benefits, such as protecting your stomach from the acidic environment. For this reason, long-term NSAID use can increase your risk of stomach irritation, ulcers, and intestinal bleeding. Similarly, decreasing certain prostaglandins can reduce lung protection, leading to worsening asthma symptoms.

NSAIDs also carry a risk for increased bruising risk, as well as increased risk for heart problems. The severity of this side effect will depend on the type of NSAID. For example, Naprosyn is a reversible type, so the risk will go away once it is removed from the body. However, it would take much longer for the effect to go away if you take aspirin, which is an irreversible type.

The risk of complications increases if you:

  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol
  • Are older
  • Have a history of heart disease
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have intestine problems
  • Have kidney or liver disease

Report Side Effects

Naprosyn may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much of Naproxen Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

For naproxen (eg, Naprosyn®) tablet and oral suspension dosage forms:

For rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Adults—At first, 250 milligrams (mg) (10 milliliters (mL)/2 teaspoonfuls), 375 mg (15 mL/3 teaspoonfuls), or 500 mg (20 mL/4 teaspoonfuls) 2 times a day, in the morning and evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 1500 mg per day.
  • Children 2 years of age and older—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 5 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight 2 times a day.
  • Children younger than 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For acute gout: 

  • Adults—750 milligrams (mg) for the first dose, then 250 mg every 8 hours until the attack is relieved.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For naproxen controlled-release tablet (eg, Naprelan®) dosage form:

For rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Adults—At first, 750 milligrams (mg) (taken as one 750 mg or two 375 mg tablets) or 1000 mg (taken as two 500 mg tablets) once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 1500 mg (taken as two 750 mg or three 500 mg tablets) per day.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For bursitis, tendinitis, menstrual cramps, and other kinds of pain:

  • Adults—At first, 1000 milligrams (mg) (taken as two 500 mg tablets) once a day. Some patients may need 1500 mg (taken as two 750 mg or three 500 mg tablets) per day, for a limited period. However, the dose is usually not more than 1000 mg per day.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For acute gout:

  • Adults—1000 to 1500 milligrams (mg) (taken as two to three 500 mg tablets) once a day for the first dose, then 1000 mg (taken as two 500 mg tablets) once a day until the attack is relieved.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For naproxen delayed-release tablet (eg, EC-Naprosyn®) dosage form:

For rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Adults—At first, 375 or 500 milligrams (mg) 2 times a day, in the morning and evening. Your doctor may adjust the dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 1500 mg per day.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For naproxen sodium (eg, Anaprox®, Anaprox® DS) tablet dosage form:

For rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Adults—At first, 275 or 550 milligrams (mg) 2 times a day, in the morning and evening. Your doctor may adjust the dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 1500 mg per day.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For bursitis, tendinitis, menstrual cramps, and other kinds of pain:

  • Adults—550 milligrams (mg) for the first dose, then 550 mg every 12 hours or 275 mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed. Your doctor may adjust the dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 1375 mg per day.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

For acute gout:

  • Adults—825 milligrams (mg) for the first dose, then 275 mg every 8 hours until the attack is relieved.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor

Modifications

If you are taking the EC tablets, you must ensure that the enteric coating remains intact for it to work correctly:

  • Do not chew, crush, or break the enteric-coated tablets. 
  • Do not take the EC tablets and antacids or any other indigestion remedy less than two hours apart from each other.

When combined with antacids, the change in acidity may impact how long the EC tablets take to start working.

Use OTC naproxen with caution if you are over the age of 65. You may want to consider using the lowest dose possible to lower the risk of stomach bleeds.

Missed Dose

It’s okay if you miss a single dose of your Naprosyn. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is already time for your next dose, it is best to leave out the missed dose and continue your regular medication regimen. Do not take two doses at the same time. Taking an extra dose will not make Naprosyn more effective. Instead, it can cause more stomach issues.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Naprosyn?

Taking too much Naprosyn can cause some common and less severe symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue 
  • Sleepiness 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain below your ribs

More severe symptoms of overdoses include:

If you overdose on naproxen and go to the hospital, there are various methods of treatment to remove naproxen from the body. You may need to vomit or take activated charcoal to prevent further drug absorption.

In some instances, you might undergo a procedure called osmotic catharsis. You would only need osmotic catharsis if substantial amounts of Naprosyn are taken (around five to 10 times the recommended dose) or if you are taken to the hospital within four hours of the overdose.

What Happens If I Overdose On Naprosyn?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Naprosyn (naproxen), call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking naproxen, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

This medicine may raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This is more likely in people who already have heart disease or in people who use this medicine for a longer time.

This medicine may cause bleeding in your stomach or intestines. This problem can happen without warning signs. This is more likely if you have had a stomach ulcer in the past, if you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, if you are over 60 years of age, are in poor health, or are using certain other medicines (eg, steroid medicine, blood thinner).

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

Serious skin reactions, including exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) can occur during treatment with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have black, tarry stools, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, chest pain, chills, cough, diarrhea, fever, itching, joint or muscle pain, painful or difficult urination, red irritated eyes, red skin lesions, sore throat, sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips, swollen glands, unusual bleeding or bruising, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Some possible warning signs of some serious side effects that can occur during treatment with this medicine may include swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, severe stomach pain, black, tarry stools, or vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds, unusual weight gain, yellow skin or eyes, decreased urination, unusual bleeding or bruising, or skin rash. Also, signs of serious heart problems could occur including chest pain or tightness, fast or irregular heartbeat, unusual flushing or warmth of the skin, weakness, or slurring of speech. Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any of these warning signs.

Check with your doctor right away if you have bloody urine, a decrease in frequency or amount of urine, an increase in blood pressure, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, trouble breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain. These could be symptoms of a serious kidney problem.

Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, confusion, difficulty with breathing, irregular heartbeat, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips, or weakness or heaviness of the legs.

This medicine may also cause serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires medical attention. Although this is rare, it may occur more often in patients who are allergic to aspirin or to any of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after using this medicine.

Using this medicine during the later part of a pregnancy can harm your unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

This medicine may cause a delay in ovulation for women and may affect their ability to have children. If you plan to have children, talk with your doctor before using this medicine.

Check with your doctor immediately if blurred vision, difficulty with reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after your treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Before having any kind of surgery or medical tests, tell your doctor that you are taking this medicine. It may be necessary for you to stop treatment for a while, or to change to a different nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug before your procedure.

This medicine may cause some people to become dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Even if taken at bedtime, it may cause some people to feel drowsy or less alert on arising. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Naprosyn?

Do not take Naprosyn if you have ever experienced an allergic reaction while taking any kind of NSAID. Worsening asthma, hives, and other skin reactions can occur during an allergic reaction to NSAIDs.

Do not use NSAIDs within 14 days of coronary artery bypass graft surgery for heart disease.

People on dialysis or who have a history of kidney disease may want to consider an alternate therapy. Children and adolescents with advanced kidney disease should avoid all NSAIDs in general.

Do not use this medication or any NSAIDs during the late stages of pregnancy. It may increase the risk of premature closure of the baby’s arteries that connect the heart’s artery (aorta) to the lung’s artery (pulmonary artery), leading to birth complications.

NSAIDs may also cause temporary infertility while taking them. If you or your partner is planning on having a baby and are currently taking Naprosyn, you may want to consider stopping the medication. People who have difficulty conceiving should also avoid taking Naprosyn.

What Other Medications Interact With Naprosyn?

Using certain other medications may affect how Naprosyn works or increase your risk of side effects.

Avoid taking Naprosyn with other drugs in the same class (e.g., Advil, Toradol, Voltaren). Taking more than one NSAID at a time is dangerous. There is a much higher risk of side effects and an even greater risk of liver and kidney failure.

Several other drugs may interact with Naprosyn, including but not limited to:

Naprosyn can increase the concentration of drugs like digoxin and lithium in the blood when taken together. You should also be aware that Naprosyn can reduce the effectiveness of other medications such as ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta-blockers, and diuretics.

Additionally, minor interactions can occur if taking Naprosyn with certain antacids (e.g., aluminum hydroxide and calcium carbonate) or cholestyramine. Both drugs can delay the absorption of naproxen in the body.

Always inform your prescriber about your current medications, especially if you’re taking any of the drugs listed above.

What Medications Are Similar?

There are multiple types of NSAIDs, but their uses vary.

Other NSAIDs include, but are not limited to:

For example, aspirin can relieve aches and pains like the others, but it can also be used for heart problems. Toradol is usually administered as an injection in higher doses, and along with Voltaren, can help treat arthritis. In comparison, ibuprofen is mainly used to treat more mild aches and pains that can occur during menstruation, toothaches, and headaches.

Determining which NSAID is best for you depends on what you might need it for. For example, aspirin is very effective in reducing the risk of heart disease, whereas celecoxib is very effective when managing and treating gout while minimizing side effects.

NSAIDs can also vary in their severity of side effects. For example, celecoxib has been shown to have a greater risk of heart problems, while Naprosyn has been shown to have the lowest chance of heart problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I travel with Naprosyn?

    It’s important that you bring your medications with you when you travel; you may not be able to refill them otherwise. You should always keep medications in the original prescription bottle so they don’t get mistaken for other medications.

  • How can I get help paying for Naprosyn?

    Generally, manufacturers will have coupons for various medications that they make. If there isn’t one for Naprosyn, your healthcare provider may switch your prescription to a generic version.

  • Can I take Naprosyn with other pain medications?

    Naprosyn is an NSAID. Taking other NSAIDs should be avoided, as it can increase the risk of side effects. Some other examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin, and celecoxib. However, Naprosyn can be combined with medications like Tylenol without much increase in the risk of side effects. It is always important to discuss any medication changes with your prescriber.

  • Can I buy Naprosyn over-the-counter?

    Naprosyn itself is not available over-the-counter (OTC). However, OTC forms of Naprosyn exist as naproxen sodium, its sodium salt form. You should only take naproxen sodium if it is recommended that you take it, and you should always discuss any medication changes with a healthcare provider.

  • How can I manage the side effects of Naprosyn?

    The side effects of Naprosyn are relatively mild. If you experience stomach symptoms, you should take Naprosyn at the end of a full meal. If your prescriber thinks it is OK, you can take it with a proton pump inhibitor like esomeprazole to relieve this side effect.

  • How do I safely stop taking Naprosyn?

    You should only stop taking Naprosyn if your prescriber thinks it is OK to do so. You should generally never discontinue medications on your own.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Naprosyn?

It’s important to take Naprosyn regularly and as directed to stay healthy and feel the full benefits of the medication. However, if directed by the prescriber, even prescription Naprosyn can be taken as needed and not always scheduled. 

For regular use, try using daily pill boxes or inverting your medication bottle each time you take your dose so that you can track whether you’ve already taken it that day or not. Forgetting to take your medication on time can result in unnecessary pain. 

In addition to taking your Naprosyn regularly, you should also exercise as much as you can tolerate and stick to a healthy diet.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for education purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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