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How Does Naproxen (NSAIDs) Work?|Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Precautions of Naproxen

Naproxen is classified as propionic class of NSAIDs. Naproxen is often second drug of choice of NSAIDs after Ibuprofen. Naproxen is being used since 1976. Naproxen is widely used to treat joint pain and muscle aches. Prolonged use of naproxen is avoided because of ulcer and bleeding disorder. There are several NSAIDs included under propionic acid derivatives. The five most often used propionic acid derivatives NSAIDs are Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen, Naproxen, Oxaprozin and Fenoprofen

Alternative Name of Naproxen

Naproxen is also known as Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox and Flanax.

How Does Naproxen Work?

How Does Naproxen Work?: Mechanism of Action

Naproxen inhibits action of cyclooxygenase enzyme. It blocks conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandin. There are two types of cyclooxygenase enzyme known as Cyclooxygenase 1 (COX 1) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX 2) enzyme. The lack of prostaglandin reduces the severity of inflammation and less irritation of pain receptors that results in less pain. The lack of prostaglandin in stomach and intestine causes ulcer formation. Chronic ulcer often causes mild to severe bleeding from eroded surface of ulcer.

Uses: Naproxen is Used for Treatment of Following Symptoms-

  • Acute and chronic pain caused by skin diseases and subcutaneous abscess or infection;
  • Acute or chronic pain caused by joint pain diseases or injury;
  • Pain and inflammation caused by fracture of bone,
  • Inflammation and pain caused by infection or tear of ligaments and tendon;
  • Inflammation or tear of muscles;
  • Migraine headache;
  • Tension headache.

Naproxen is Used to Treat Following Diseases

Dosage of Naproxen

Naproxen is available as immediate and extended release NSAIDs. The pills are available over the counter in most of the pharmacies. The immediate release pills strength in milligram is 200 mg, 250 mg, 275 mg, 375 mg and 500 mg. The delayed release pills are sold as 700 mg and 1000 mg pills. Naproxen is also sold as oral suspension and capsule. Naproxen dosage depends on cause of inflammation of intensity of pain. The dosage is 10 to 20 mg per kg.

Duration of Action Naproxen

After oral administration, plasma levels of naproxen are detected within 30 minutes of dosing, with peak plasma levels occurring approximately 5 hours after dosing. The observed terminal elimination half-life of naproxen from both immediate release naproxen sodium and NAPRELAN Tablets is approximately 15 hours.

Side Effects Caused by Naproxen

  • Abdominal pain often caused by gastric or intestinal ulcer;
  • Heartburn caused by esophagitis or esophageal ulcer;
  • Bleeding from stomach or intestinal ulcer;
  • Dizziness;
  • Bruising;
  • Rash.
  • Diarrhea

Precaution Needed in Following Condition

  • Abdominal pain;
  • History of ulcer disease;
  • Bleeding disorder:
  • Stroke;
  • Myocardial infarction.

Naproxen Avoided In Patient Suffering With Following Disease

  • Liver disease;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Congestive heart failure


  1. Naproxen: antirheumatic efficacy and safety in patients with pre-existing gastrointestinal disease.

    Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1988 Feb;17(3 Suppl 2):36-9., Roth SH1.

  2. Naproxen effects on brain response to painful pressure stimulation in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, single-dose study. Giménez M1, Pujol J2, Ali Z1, López-Solà M1, Contreras-Rodríguez O1, Deus J1, Ortiz H1, Soriano-Mas C1, Llorente-Onaindia J1, Monfort J1., J Rheumatol. 2014 Nov;41(11):2240-8.

  3. Naproxen-induced fixed drug eruption: a case report.

    Akyazi H1, Baltaci D, Mungan S, Kara IH., Hum Exp Toxicol. 2011 Nov;30(11):1872-4.

  4. Efficacy and safety of the COX-2 specific inhibitor valdecoxib in the management of osteoarthritis of the hip: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled comparison with naproxen.

    Makarowski W1, Zhao WW, Bevirt T, Recker DP.,

    Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2002 Apr;10(4):290-6.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 19, 2022

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