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Back Pain & Osteoporosis



Brand Names: Actron, Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn
Drug Class: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Available in: Tablets, oral suspension, gelcaps
Available OTC? Yes
As Generic? Yes

Side Effects

Serious: Shortness of breath or wheezing, with or without swelling of legs or other signs of heart failure; chest pain; peptic ulcer disease with vomiting of blood; black, tarry stools; decreasing kidney function. Call your doctor immediately.

Common: Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, headache, dizziness, sleepiness.

Less Common: Ulcers or sores in mouth, depression, rashes or blistering of skin, ringing sound in the ears, unusual tingling or numbness of the hands or feet, seizures, blurred vision. Also elevated potassium levels, decreased blood counts; such problems can be detected by your doctor.

Principal Uses

To relieve minor pain or inflammation associated with headaches, the common cold, toothache, muscle aches, backache, arthritis, gout, tendinitis, bursitis, or menstrual cramps; also, to reduce fever. When patients fail to respond to one NSAID, several others may be tried.

How the Drug Works

NSAIDs work by interfering with the formation of prostaglandins, naturally occurring substances in the body that cause inflammation and make nerves more sensitive to pain impulses. NSAIDs also have other modes of action that are less well understood.


Adults: 440 to 1,500 mg daily. Maximum dose is 1,500 mg a day, taken in 2 to 3 evenly divided doses.

Onset of Effect

Rapid; relieves pain within 1 hour. However, it may take up to 2 weeks to suppress inflammation.

Duration of Action

Up to 12 hours.

Dietary Advice

Take with food; maintain your usual food and fluid intake.


Store tablets in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Store oral suspension in refrigerator, but do not freeze.

If You Miss a Dose

Take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug

If you are taking this drug by prescription, do not stop taking it without first consulting your doctor.

Prolonged Use

Prolonged use can cause gastrointestinal problems, including ulceration and bleeding, kidney dysfunction, and liver inflammation. Consult your doctor about the need for medical examinations and lab studies.


Over 60: Because of the potentially greater consequences of gastrointestinal side effects, the dose of NSAIDs for older patients, especially those over age 70, is often cut in half.

Driving and Hazardous Work: Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid alcohol when taking this drug; the combination of naproxen and alcohol can be highly toxic to the liver.

Pregnancy: Avoid or discontinue this drug if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding: Naproxen passes into breast milk; avoid or discontinue use while nursing.

Infants and Children: Naproxen may be used in exceptional circumstances; consult your pediatrician for advice.

Special Concerns: Because NSAIDs can interfere with blood coagulation, this drug should be stopped at least 3 days prior to any surgery.


Symptoms: Severe nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, seizures.

What to Do: Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions

Do not take this drug with aspirin or any other NSAIDs without your doctor's approval. In addition, consult your doctor if you are taking antihypertensives, steroids, anticoagulants, antibiotics, itraconazole or ketoconazole, plicamycin, penicillamine, valproic acid, phenytoin, cyclosporine, digitalis drugs, lithium, methotrexate, probenecid, triamterene, or zidovudine.

Food Interactions

No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions

Consult your doctor if you have any of the following: bleeding problems, inflammation or ulcers of the stomach and intestines, diabetes mellitus, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus), anemia, asthma, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, kidney stones, or a history of heart disease or alcohol abuse. Use of naproxen may cause complications in patients with liver or kidney disease, since these organs work together to remove the medication from the body.


From The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You can order this book now on our secure server.


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Back Pain & Osteoporosis

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