Naproxen Sodium (naproxen)

What is naproxen sodium?

Naproxen sodium is an internal analgesic available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that temporarily relieves minor aches and pains and reduces fever. It is part of a group of pain relievers and fever reducers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Naproxen sodium can be the only ingredient in oral pain relievers and fever reducers. It is also available in prescription medicines and in medicines that treat multiple symptoms of the common cold or symptoms associated with menstruation.

What is naproxen sodium used to treat?

  • Minor aches and pains
  • Fever
  • Symptoms associated with the common cold
  • Symptoms associated with menstruation

Common brands containing naproxen sodium:

  • Aleve
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much naproxen sodium can you take?

Different types of products containing this active ingredient have different strengths. That’s why it is always important to read and follow the Drug Facts label. Most medicines warn against use of an active ingredient for longer than 7-10 days. Stop and ask a doctor if symptoms persist.

Safety guide for naproxen sodium

Naproxen sodium is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label.

Ask a healthcare provider before use if:

  • You are currently using another medicine containing an NSAID (e.g., aspirin, magnesium salicylate, naproxen, ibuprofen, or ketoprofen).
  • You are taking a blood thinner (anticoagulant), steroid, diuretic, or any other drug.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women in the last three months of pregnancy are specifically told not to use naproxen sodium or any NSAID without a healthcare provider’s permission.
  • You are over the age of 60.
  • You have had stomach ulcers or bleeding problems.
  • You drink three or more alcoholic drinks every day.
  • You are under a healthcare provider’s care for any serious condition.

Do not use if:

  • You are preparing to have heart surgery or if you just had heart surgery.
  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to any other pain reliever or fever reducer.
  • You are a woman in the last three months of pregnancy unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to. Problems in the unborn child or complications during delivery could occur.
  • Tamper-evident packaging features such as seals, locks, and films are not clear or seem broken.
  • Do not give an OTC medicine containing naproxen sodium to a child under the age of 12 unless a healthcare provider tells you to.

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • An allergic reaction occurs. Seek medical help right away.
  • Your fever gets worse or lasts more than three days, or if your pain gets worse and lasts more than 10 days.
  • You have signs of stomach bleeding, such as you feel faint, vomit blood, have stomach pain or upset that lasts or does not get better, or have bloody or black stools.
  • Redness or swelling is present in the painful area or if any new symptoms appear.
  • You have difficulty swallowing or if it feels like the pill is stuck in your throat.
  • You develop heartburn.
  • You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.

What are the side effects of naproxen sodium?

  • Naproxen sodium, like other NSAIDs, may cause a severe allergic reaction, especially in people who are allergic to aspirin. If you experience serious symptoms such as hives, facial swelling, asthma (wheezing), shock, skin reddening, rash, or blisters, stop using the medicine and seek immediate medical attention.
  • Severe stomach bleeding may occur. The chance is higher if you are age 60 or older; have had stomach ulcers or bleeding problems; or if you are taking a blood thinner (anticoagulant), steroid drug, or other medicines containing NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin, magnesium salicylate, naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, or ketoprofen).
  • Long-term continuous use may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • If upset stomach occurs, you may take the medicine with milk or food.