Skip to Content
Diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis? Biologics can help >>

naproxen

Pronunciation

Generic Name: naproxen (na PROX en)
Brand Name: Aleve, Anaprox, EC-Naprosyn, Flanax Pain Reliever, Leader Naproxen Sodium, Midol Extended Relief, Naprelan 375, Naprosyn, ...show all 18 brand names

What is naproxen?

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Naproxen works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body.

Naproxen is used to treat pain or inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendinitis, bursitis, gout, or menstrual cramps.

The delayed-release or extended-release tablets are slower-acting forms of naproxen that are used only for treating chronic conditions such as arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. These forms of naproxen will not work fast enough to treat acute pain.

Naproxen may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about naproxen?

Naproxen can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).

Naproxen may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using naproxen, especially in older adults.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking naproxen?

Naproxen can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Even people without heart disease or risk factors could have a stroke or heart attack while taking this medicine.

Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).

Naproxen may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using naproxen, especially in older adults.

You should not use naproxen if you are allergic to it, or if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you smoke;

  • a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot;

  • a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding;

  • asthma;

  • liver or kidney disease; or

  • fluid retention.

Taking naproxen during the last 3 months of pregnancy may harm the unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.

Naproxen can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Naproxen is not approved for use by anyone younger than 2 years old. Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

How should I take naproxen?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take this medicine in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Use the lowest dose that is effective in treating your condition.

Do not crush, chew, or break a naproxen tablet. Swallow it whole.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

If you change brands, strengths, or forms of naproxen, your dosage needs may change. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the kind of naproxen you are using.

If a child is using this medicine, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight. Naproxen doses are based on weight in children, and any changes may affect your child's dose.

If you use naproxen long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.

This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using naproxen.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since naproxen is sometimes used only when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking naproxen?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.

Avoid taking aspirin while you are taking naproxen.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any cold, allergy, or pain medicine. Many medicines available over the counter contain aspirin or other medicines similar to naproxen. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of this type of medication. Check the label to see if a medicine contains aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen.

Ask your doctor before using an antacid, and use only the type your doctor recommends. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb naproxen.

Naproxen side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: sneezing, runny or stuffy nose; wheezing or trouble breathing; hives; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of a heart attack or stroke: chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, feeling short of breath.

Stop using naproxen and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • shortness of breath (even with mild exertion);

  • swelling or rapid weight gain;

  • the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;

  • signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • kidney problems--little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;

  • low red blood cells (anemia)--pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating; or

  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain, nausea;

  • diarrhea, constipation;

  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness;

  • swelling in your hands or feet;

  • bruising, itching, rash, sweating; or

  • ringing in your ears.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Naproxen dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Ankylosing Spondylitis:

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

Comments:
-May increase to 1500 mg orally once a day for a limited time up to 6 months in patients requiring higher levels of anti-inflammatory/analgesic activity.
-When treating patients, especially at higher doses, sufficient increased clinical benefit should be observed to offset the potential for increased risk of adverse events.
-Symptomatic improvement of arthritis is usually observed within 1 week; however, treatment for 2 weeks may be required to achieve therapeutic benefit.

Uses: For the relief of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis

Usual Adult Dose for Osteoarthritis:

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

Comments:
-May increase to 1500 mg orally once a day for a limited time up to 6 months in patients requiring higher levels of anti-inflammatory/analgesic activity.
-When treating patients, especially at higher doses, sufficient increased clinical benefit should be observed to offset the potential for increased risk of adverse events.
-Symptomatic improvement of arthritis is usually observed within 1 week; however, treatment for 2 weeks may be required to achieve therapeutic benefit.

Uses: For the relief of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis

Usual Adult Dose for 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

Comments:
-May increase to 1500 mg orally once a day for a limited time up to 6 months in patients requiring higher levels of anti-inflammatory/analgesic activity.
-When treating patients, especially at higher doses, sufficient increased clinical benefit should be observed to offset the potential for increased risk of adverse events.
-Symptomatic improvement of arthritis is usually observed within 1 week; however, treatment for 2 weeks may be required to achieve therapeutic benefit.

Uses: For the relief of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis

Usual Adult Dose for Acute Gout:

Immediate Release Tablets and Suspension:
-Initial dose: 750 mg (naproxen) or 825 mg (naproxen sodium) orally once on first day of attack
-Following initial dose: 250 mg (naproxen) or 275 mg (naproxen sodium) orally every 8 hours until attack subsides

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

Comments:
-The delayed release tablets (EC-Naprosyn[R]) are not recommended due to delayed absorption.

Use: For the relief of an acute gout attack

Usual Adult Dose for Bursitis:

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: Initial total daily dose not to exceed 1375 mg; thereafter, not to exceed 1100 mg/day

Comments:
-Naproxen (Naprosyn[R]) may also but used, however, the delayed release tablets (EC-Naprosyn[R]) are not recommended for initial treatment of acute pain due to delayed absorption.

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, total daily dose should not exceed 1000 mg/day

Uses: For the relief of signs and symptoms of bursitis and tendinitis

Usual Adult Dose for Tendonitis:

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: Initial total daily dose not to exceed 1375 mg; thereafter, not to exceed 1100 mg/day

Comments:
-Naproxen (Naprosyn[R]) may also but used, however, the delayed release tablets (EC-Naprosyn[R]) are not recommended for initial treatment of acute pain due to delayed absorption.

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, total daily dose should not exceed 1000 mg/day

Uses: For the relief of signs and symptoms of bursitis and tendinitis

Usual Adult Dose for Dysmenorrhea:

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

Comments:
-Naproxen (Naprosyn[R]) may also but used, however, the delayed release tablets (EC-Naprosyn[R]) are not recommended for initial treatment of acute pain due to delayed absorption.

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, 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)

Uses: For the management of primary dysmenorrhea

Usual Adult Dose for 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

Comments:
-Naproxen (Naprosyn[R]) may also but used, however, the delayed release tablets (EC-Naprosyn[R]) are not recommended for initial treatment of acute pain due to delayed absorption.

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, 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)

Uses: For the relief of mild to moderate pain

Usual Adult Dose for 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)

Use: For the temporary reduction of fever

Usual Pediatric Dose for 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)

Uses: For the relief of minor aches and pains and for the temporary reduction of fever

Usual Pediatric Dose for 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)

Uses: For the relief of minor aches and pains and for the temporary reduction of fever

Usual Pediatric Dose for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Immediate Release Tablets and Suspension:
2 years or older: 5 mg/kg orally twice a day

Comments:
-The oral suspension is recommended due to flexible dose titration based on patient's weight.
-The delayed release formulation has not been studied in patients less than 18 years.

Use: For the relief of signs and symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

What other drugs will affect naproxen?

Ask your doctor before using naproxen if you take an antidepressant such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline (Zoloft), trazodone, or vilazodone. Taking any of these medicines with an NSAID may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use naproxen if you are also using any of the following drugs:

  • lithium;

  • methotrexate;

  • probenecid;

  • a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven);

  • heart or blood pressure medication, including a diuretic or "water pill"; or

  • steroid medicine (such as prednisone).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with naproxen, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about naproxen.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 13.02. Revision Date: 2015-09-23, 7:33:53 AM.

Hide