Naproxen is the active ingredient of Adco-Naproxen, Aleve, Aspen Naproxen, Merck-Naproxen, Nafasol, Napflam, Sandoz Naproxen and Synflex.

General Information

Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. It is prescribed to relieve inflammation, swelling, stiffness and is also an effective pain killer. It is of particular use in arthritic conditions, menstrual pain and discomfort, acute attacks of gout and for broad spectrum pain relief. Naproxen can also be used to reduce fever.

This medication does not cure the underlying condition responsible for pain, fever or inflammation, but simply keeps the symptoms under control.

At moderate doses - not exceeding 1 g per day - naproxen appear to have fewer gastrointestinal side effects than aspirin and many other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It may however still cause gastrointestinal irritation and should be used with caution if you have a stomach ulcer or related disease.

This risk increases the longer you take this medication, or if you are also taking corticosteroid medications such as prednisone, anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) such as warfarin, or if you smoke or consume alcohol while being treated with naproxen. To reduce this, it is advised to take this medication with food.

How does naproxen work?

Naproxen blocks the production of chemicals in the body that is responsible for pain, fever, swelling and inflammation.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 2, 3

Available as: Naproxen is available as tablets and suppositories.

What does it do? Naproxen reduces pain, fever and inflammation.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is naproxen available as a generic ? Yes

Is naproxen available on prescription only? No

User information

Onset of effect: Within 60 minutes

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours

Dietary advice: Naproxen should be taken with a meal to minimise gastrointestinal irritation.

Stopping this medicine: Unless your doctor has prescribed Naproxen for long-term use, it can be safely stopped when no longer needed.

Prolonged use: The likelihood of adverse effects increases with prolonged use. Your doctor may perform periodic liver and kidney function tests, while also examining you for possible gastrointestinal damage.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have asthma
  • You have a stomach ulcer
  • You have a kidney or liver disease
  • You have a bleeding disorder
  • You have heart disease
  • You are taking blood thinning medication
  • You are allergic to aspirin or any other medication
  • You are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: This medication is safe use.

Infants and children: Naproxen should only be used if prescribed by a paediatrician.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as side effects may be more likely. The dose may need to be adjusted.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may worsen stomach irritation.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases

Gastrointestinal disorders














Swelling (feet/ankles)






Difficulty breathing



Blood in vomit


Dark tarry stools



Drug interactions:

Blood pressure medication

Reduced blood pressure-lowering effect


Potential gastrointestinal symptoms


Risk of bleeding

Asthma medication

Reduced effect of asthma medication; risk of asthma attack

Cardiac glycosides, digoxin

Risk that heart failure may be more severe


Potential gastrointestinal symptoms


Potential naproxen toxicity


Potential methotrexate toxicity


Potential risk of kidney damage

Blood glucose lowering drugs

Risk of prolonged low blood sugar


Potential baclofen toxicity

Other NSAID's

Potential risk of gastrointestinal bleeding


Risk of naproxen toxicity

Quionolone antibiotics

Risk of seizures


Increased risk of kidney damage


Increased risk of zidovudine toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have asthma, a stomach ulcer, bleeding disorder, you are taking blood thinning medication or if you are allergic to aspirin or any other medication.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 250-1000 mg/day in divided doses. Maximum daily dose is 1500 mg.

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