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Naproxen Immediate-Release Tablets

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that treats mild to moderate pain and inflammation. It may cause sleepiness, skin reactions or other side effects. Naproxen may be unsafe for people with certain medical conditions. Talk to your provider to learn more about whether naproxen is appropriate for you and the safe dosage.

Overview

What is this medication?

NAPROXEN (na PROX en) treats mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and arthritis. It belongs to a group of medications called NSAIDS.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Aflaxen, Aleve, Aleve Arthritis, All Day Pain Relief, All Day Relief, Anaprox, Anaprox DS, Naprosyn, Walgreens Naproxen Sodium

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Asthma (lung or breathing disease)
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) within the past 2 weeks
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • High levels of potassium in the blood
  • If you often drink alcohol
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Low red blood cell counts
  • Smoke tobacco cigarettes
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Stomach or intestine problems
  • Take medications that treat or prevent blood clots
  • Taking steroids such as dexamethasone or prednisone
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to naproxen, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication by mouth with water. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Do not cut, crush or chew this medication. Swallow the tablets whole. You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, take it with food. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While it may be prescribed for to children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

  • Alcohol
  • Aspirin
  • Cidofovir
  • Diuretics
  • Lithium
  • Methotrexate
  • Other medications for inflammation like ketorolac or prednisone
  • Pemetrexed
  • Probenecid
  • Warfarin

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.

Do not take other medications that contain aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen with this medication. Side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, or ulcers may be more likely to occur. Many non-prescription medications contain aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Always read labels carefully.

This medication can cause serious ulcers and bleeding in the stomach. It can happen with no warning. Smoking, drinking alcohol, older age, and poor health can also increase risks. Call your care team right away if you have stomach pain or blood in your vomit or stool.

This medication does not prevent a heart attack or stroke. This medication may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke. The chance may increase the longer you use this medication or if you have heart disease. If you take aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke, talk to your care team about using this medication.

Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medication. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

This medication may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medication. Contact your care team right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. Or, you might notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.

Talk to your care team if you are pregnant before taking this medication. Taking this medication between weeks 20 and 30 of pregnancy may harm your unborn baby. Your care team will monitor you closely if you need to take it. After 30 weeks of pregnancy, do not take this medication.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you. Do not stand up or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.

Be careful brushing or flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medication.

This medication may make it more difficult to get pregnant. Talk to your care team if you are concerned about your fertility.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Bleeding—bloody or black, tar-like stools, vomiting blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds, red or dark brown urine, small red or purple spots on skin, unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Heart attack—pain or tightness in the chest, shoulders, arms, or jaw, nausea, shortness of breath, cold or clammy skin, feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Heart failure—shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands, sudden weight gain, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Kidney injury—decrease in the amount of urine, swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet
  • Liver injury—right upper belly pain, loss of appetite, nausea, light-colored stool, dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing skin or eyes, unusual weakness, fatigue
  • Rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • Stroke—sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, trouble speaking, confusion, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness, severe headache, change in vision

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Protect from moisture. Keep the container tightly closed. Avoid exposure to extreme heat.

Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.

To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:

  • Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
  • If you cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, empty the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Additional Common Questions

Does naproxen make you sleepy?

Feeling sleepy is a common side effect of naproxen. You may you feel drowsy, tired or dizzy. Avoid driving, using machinery or doing other tasks that require concentration until you know how this medication affects you. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about sleepiness or other side effects.

How much naproxen is safe?

Your healthcare provider is the best person to tell you how much naproxen is safe for you. That’s because the amount can change depending on your age and underlying medical conditions. For example, people with conditions like cardiovascular disease, stomach/upper GI ulcers or chronic kidney disease have an increased risk of adverse effects from taking naproxen. So, they should proceed with caution under a provider’s guidance and start with the lowest effective dose.

Remember that just because a medication is available without a prescription doesn’t mean it’s safe for you — in any amount. It’s always a good idea to talk to your provider before taking any new medications, including over-the-counter drugs like naproxen. Your provider will make sure the medication is safe for you based on your medical conditions and other medications you’re taking. They’ll also tell you the dosage that’s appropriate for you and how long you should take naproxen. 

Can you take Tylenol with naproxen?

You shouldn’t take a dose of both medications at the same time. However, if your provider says it’s OK, you may alternate between taking naproxen and acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®, a common acetaminophen brand).

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before trying this approach. Ask them:

  • Is it safe for me to alternate between naproxen and acetaminophen?
  • How soon after taking a dose of one medication can I take a dose of the other? 
  • How long can I follow this approach?
  • What side effects should I look out for?
  • When should I call you?

How long does naproxen take to kick in?

People typically start noticing improvements in symptoms about one hour after taking naproxen. You may need to take naproxen twice a day for up to three days to feel better. Your provider can tell you more about what to expect in your individual situation.

Is naproxen a narcotic?

No, naproxen isn’t part of the opioids (narcotics) class of medications. It’s a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). 

Opioids and NSAIDs are two separate classes of medications. But they both fall under the larger umbrella of analgesics, which are medications that relieve pain. Opioids work by changing your brain’s perception of pain. NSAIDs, like naproxen, work by reducing inflammation in the area where your pain occurs.

Note: Intro and FAQ sections written and reviewed by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Naproxen can help relieve your symptoms and allow you to get back to doing the things you love. However, all medications come with risks. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about the risks of taking naproxen in your unique situation. Be sure to tell them about other medications you’re taking. These include prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements. They’ll make sure you can safely take naproxen alongside them.

You should also talk to your provider if you have any questions or concerns about your medication schedule. Taking medications for multiple conditions can sometimes feel overwhelming. Your provider can make sure you have a safe schedule in place and help you stay organized.

Note: Intro and FAQ sections written and reviewed by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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