Naprosyn is the brand name for naproxen, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Since its’ launch in 1976 naproxen has become one of the main components of treatment protocols for arthritic pain and other associated inflammatory conditions. It remains a prescription only medicine in much of the world.
Naproxen is commonly used for the reduction of pain, fever, inflammation and stiffness caused by conditions such as sprains, back pain, neck pain, sciatica, migraine, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, kidney stones, tendonitis, bursitis and period pain.
Naproxen works at both the site of pain and in the central nervous system (CNS). It blocks the action of a substance called cyclo-oxygenase (COX). COX is involved in the production of various chemicals in the body, some of which are known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced by the body in response to injury and certain diseases and conditions, and cause pain, swelling and inflammation. Through its inhibition of COX Naproxen blocks the production of these prostaglandins and is therefore effective at reducing inflammation and pain.
Naproxen should be used exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by the doctor. It should not be used in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Naproxen can be used alone, or alongside medicines such as omeprazole, which help protect against stomach irritation.
Some forms of naproxen have a special enteric coating to help protect the stomach against irritation. There is also a modified-release tablet, which allows naproxen to be released slowly to give a more even pain-relieving effect.
The modified-release tablet is a slower-acting form of naproxen and should be used only for treating arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.
The extended-release or enteric-coated tablet must not be crushed, chewed, or broken and should be swallowed whole.
The usual recommended doses are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis - 500mg to 1g a day in two doses at twelve hourly intervals.
- Attack of gout - Initially 750mg as a single dose then 250mg every 8 hours until the attack has passed.
- Muscle and bone disorders and painful periods - Initially 500mg as a single dose then 250mg every 6-8 hours as necessary. Up to a maximum of 1250mg a day may be given after the first day.
Common naproxen side effects may include:
- Upset stomach, mild heartburn or stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation;
- Bloating, gas;
- Dizziness, headache, nervousness;
- Skin itching or rash;
- Blurred vision;
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist for further advice about taking naproxen.
Naproxen may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or have heart disease. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
You should not use naproxen if you have a history of allergic reaction to aspirin or other NSAIDs.
Do not take naproxen during pregnancy unless your General Practitioner has told you to.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you are also using any of the following drugs:
- A blood thinner such as warfarin;
- A diuretic or "water pill";
- Steroids (prednisone and others);
- Aspirin or other NSAIDs e.g. ibuprofen, celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam;
- Heart or blood pressure medication such as benazepril, candesartan, enalapril, lisinopril, losartan, olmesartan, quinapril, ramipril, telmisartan, valsartan.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with naproxen, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet