Naproxen: Uses & Side Effects

Naproxen belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other members of this class include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen) and several others. These drugs are used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation.

Naproxen is used to treat pain or inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendinitis, bursitis, gout, or menstrual cramps. It can also be used to treat acute pain caused by other conditions not listed in this medication guide.

What do you need to know before taking the medicine?

Naproxen may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using this medicine, 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. Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant. It may interfere with ovulation, causing temporary infertility.

What are the side effects of naproxen?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to naproxen: wheezing or trouble breathing; hives; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat and 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 naproxen side effects may include:

  • Indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain, nausea;
  • Headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
  • Bruising, itching, rash;
  • Swelling; or
  • Ringing in your ears.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.