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Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and works similarly to ibuprofen. It works by reducing inflammation at the site of pain rather than in the central nervous system like paracetamol. Naproxen is a stronger anti-inflammatory than ibuprofen and is used in moderate pain and inflammation or where ibuprofen has been ineffective.
Naproxen, like diclofenac, is a stronger painkiller than ibuprofen with better anti-inflammatory activity. Unlike diclofenac however, Naproxen doesn’t have the same harsh adverse effects on the cardiovascular system (heart) and on the gut that diclofenac has been shown to exhibit in recent years. It offers the same level of relief at a lower risk and because of this has almost replaced diclofenac completely in practice.
Naproxen is safe with certain other painkillers. These include paracetamol, co-codamol and other opioid only type medicines such as tramadol, codeine or morphine. They do not interact with each other or increase the likelihood of adverse side effects.
Naproxen should be avoided when using other drugs that can affect the stomach or intestines. These include other NSAIDs (ibuprofen, piroxicam etc), Aspirin, clopidogrel, dipyridamole amongst others. It should also be avoided if you are taking warfarin or any other medicine that thins the blood. Bear in mind that some over the counter cold and flu remedies have ibuprofen and aspirin in them.
ACE inhibitors (e.g. enalapril, captopril), Ciclosporin, Diuretics (e.g. furosemide), Digoxin, Beta Blockers, Calcium channel Blockers, Methotrexate, Lithium. This is because Naproxen can sometimes affect how these drugs leave the body causing an increase in risk of side effects or it can block the blood pressure lowering affect of some of the drugs in that list.
Taking Naproxen together with quinolone antibiotics, such as or norfloxacin or ciprofloxacin reduces seizure threshold, putting you at an increased risk of seizures, especially if you have epilepsy.
Drinking alcohol is fine while taking Naproxen at moderate quantities. Alcohol can irritate the stomach, adding to the NSAID effect of Naproxen.
• Naproxen can sometimes cause dizziness and/or drowsiness.
• Before using Naproxen, you must ensure your kidneys are working correctly.
• Pregnant women should not be using Naproxen
- Up to 1.25g to be taken in divided doses every 6-8 hours orally if required, 250mg tablets can be taken up to three times a day whereas 500mg tablets are limited to twice a day. The dose should never exceed what is recommended as the risk of a stomach ulcer or a gastrointestinal bleed is higher above that dose.
- It should always be TAKEN WITH FOOD or on a full stomach. Long term users will normally be prescribed a PPI (Proton pump inhibitor like Omeprazole or Esomeprazole) to protect the patient from stomach ulcers and/or bleeds.
Like all medicines, Naproxen tablets can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. If any of the side effects get worse, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor or pharmacist. For a full list of side effects CLICK HERE for the patient information leaflet.
Stop taking Naproxen tablets and contact your doctor immediately if you
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects
The most commonly observed adverse events are gastrointestinal in nature. Feeling sick, being sick, diarrhoea, wind, constipation and worsening of colitis and Crohn’s disease have been reported following administration.
Water retention (may cause swelling in the limbs), high blood pressure and heart failure have been reported in association with NSAID therapy.
Common (affects 1 to 10 users in 100)
confusion, headache, ringing in the ears, changes in vision (you should go for an eye test if you notice changes in vision), tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, rashes.
Uncommon (affects 1 to 10 users in 1,000)
depression, irregular heartbeat (palpitations), abnormal dreams, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity of the skin to light (may cause blistering), difficulty sleeping.
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