|Type of medicine||Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)|
|Used for||Relief of pain and inflammation in rheumatic disease and in disorders of the joints, muscles and tendons
|Also called||Naproxen sodium
Naprosyn®, Naprosyn EC®
Napratec® OP (naproxen in combination with misoprostol)
Vimovo® (naproxen in combination with esomeprazole)
|Available as||Tablets, enteric coated (EC) tablets, and modified-release (MR) tablets|
Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is also known as an NSAID. It is used to relieve pain and inflammation in rheumatic disease, sprains, strains, backache, gout, and period (menstrual) pain.
Naproxen works by blocking a substance in the body called cyclo-oxygenase (also known as COX) which is involved in the production of certain irritant chemicals in response to injury or disease. By blocking the action of COX, naproxen reduces the symptoms of pain and inflammation.
Some forms of naproxen have a special enteric coating to help protect your stomach against irritation. There is also a modified-release form of tablets which allows naproxen to be released slowly to give a more even pain-relieving effect. Naproxen can be used alone, or alongside medicines such as misoprostol or esomeprazole which help protect against stomach irritation.
Before taking naproxen
Before taking naproxen make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you are over 65 years of age.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
- If you have ever had a stomach or duodenal ulcer.
- If you have heart problems.
- If you have ever had blood clotting problems.
- If you have blood in your stools.
- If you have systemic lupus erythematosus (an inflammatory condition also called lupus or SLE).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic or unusual reaction to any other NSAID (this includes aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac and indometacin) or to any other medicine.
How to take naproxen
- Before starting naproxen, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take naproxen exactly as your doctor has told you.
- Taking naproxen with a glass of milk or after eating some food may help prevent side-effects such as indigestion. However, if you have been given Vimovo® tablets, these should be taken before meals.
- If you have been given enteric coated tablets (such as Naprosyn® EC), these should be swallowed whole and not chewed. Do not take indigestion remedies at the same time as enteric coated tablets as these will stop the protective coating from working as it should.
- If you have been given modified-release tablets (Vimovo®), these should be swallowed whole, and taken at least 30 minutes before a meal.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep any regular doctor's appointments so your progress can be monitored.
- Your doctor will try to prescribe you the lowest dose for the shortest time so that you do not suffer from side-effects. If you need to take naproxen for a long time, your doctor may want to prescribe another medicine along with it to protect your stomach from irritation.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with naproxen.
Can naproxen cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Possible side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain||Make sure you take your doses with a meal or with a glass of milk (unless you are taking Vimovo®). If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor|
|Feeling or being sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods - avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace the lost fluids|
|Other possible side-effects: constipation, wind, headache, dizziness, nervousness, mood changes, drowsiness, and difficulty sleeping||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: If you experience any of the following, speak with your doctor immediately or go to your local accident and emergency department without delay:
- Any sign of bleeding in the stomach or intestine, such as blood in vomit or dark stools.
- Any shortness of breath, or swelling of the mouth or face.
- A severe skin rash.
- A severe headache with a high temperature and a stiff neck.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store naproxen
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 60th Edition (September 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer’s PIL, Naprosyn® 250mg and 500mg Tablets; Manufacturer’s PIL, Naprosyn® 250mg and 500mg Tablets, Roche Products Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated December 2009.
- Manufacturer’s PIL, Synflex® 275mg Tablets; Manufacturer’s PIL, Synflex® 275mg Tablets, Roche Products Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated December 2009.
- Manufacturer’s PIL, Napratec® OP; Manufacturer’s PIL, Napratec® OP, Pharmacia Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2011.
- Manufacturer’s PIL, Vimovo® 500 mg/20 mg modified-release tablets; Manufacturer’s PIL, Vimovo® 500 mg/20 mg modified-release tablets, AstraZeneca UK Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 23/03/2011||Document ID: 1181 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.