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How does Naproxen work?

4th June 2019

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAID has been used by numerous people to relieve pain, inflammation and fever. It works by reducing inflammation and pain in joints and muscle. Naproxen blocks the production of cyclooxygenase and prostaglandin, these are substances that cause inflammation and pain. Naproxen relieves your body from pain in conditions like muscle cramps, muscle and bone disorders like back pain, sprains and strains. For people with gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthrosis, naproxen is taken to reduce pain, swelling and joint stiffness.

NSAIDs and Complications

People who are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as naproxen, have a higher risk for heart attack or stroke than people not taking this medication. Moreover, NSAID could also cause ulcer, bleeding, or holes in the stomach or intestine. These complications can happen at any time while taking this drug without any warning and symptoms. It is more likely to happen to people who are taking this drug for a long period of time, and mostly for people who have a family history of heart diseases. The risk could be greater for people who are alcoholic, smoking, has high blood pressure, diabetes, and people who are older than 65 years old.

Be aware of your blood pressure level when taking naproxen. Naproxen can also cause high blood pressure or make your high blood pressure worse. Consult your doctor if you are taking medications for high blood pressure, because naproxen might counter its benefit and it may not work as well.  

Precautionary measures when taking Naproxen

Naproxen should not be taken if you have a history of allergic reaction to aspirin or any other NSAID. It is not advisable to take NSAID medicine if you had an asthma attack, and hives. It is strictly prohibited to take this medicine before or after a heart bypass surgery (CABG). It is also not recommended to take naproxen with ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, however you could take this drug with paracetamol or co-codamol that you can buy over-the-counter but only for a short period of time, as recommended by your doctor. For people using this medicine as a pain reliever during period, do not take naproxen for more than three tablets in 24 hours. Take this medicine only at the prescribed amount. Usually, NSAID are given at the lowest dose possible and shortest time needed for treatment.

Side effects of Naproxen

Common side effects of naproxen include upset stomach, nausea, heartburn, headache, drowsiness or dizziness. If you cannot bear the side effects, better consult your doctor or pharmacist to have other options for your treatment.

See: How does Naproxen work?

Serious side effects include stomach/abdominal pain that doesn’t go away, back stools, vomiting, chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath, trouble speaking and other vision changes. If these complications happen, stop taking naproxen immediately and get medical help.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits and risks of taking this drug. This drug is prescribed knowing that it is more beneficial than harmful for your body.

Naproxen while pregnant or breastfeeding

Naproxen is not usually recommended for pregnant women-especially if you are 30 or more weeks pregnant and breastfeeding mums.

Taking naproxen while pregnant can cause damage to your baby, there might be a link to some birth defects like damages to heart and blood vessels. Taking this medicine could also have an effect that could lead to miscarriages during early pregnancy. Naproxen could cause the premature closure of the ductus arteriosus. This case means the closure of the blood vessels that transports nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the baby. If the vessel closes before birth, the baby needs to be delivered right away.

See: Can you take Naproxen with Codeine?

Consult your doctor when taking this medicine and discuss the possible harm and the benefits of naproxen. It will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are and the reason for you to take this medicine. Usually, paracetamol is recommended to relieve pain in pregnant women.  It is also not recommended to take naproxen when breastfeeding, using ibuprofen is better and safer for your baby.