See also Warning section.
Naproxen is used to relieve pain from various conditions such as headache, muscle aches, tendonitis, dental pain, and menstrual cramps. It also reduces pain, swelling, and joint stiffness caused by arthritis, bursitis, and gout attacks. This medication is known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by blocking your body's production of certain natural substances that cause inflammation.
If you are treating a chronic condition such as arthritis, ask your doctor about non-drug treatments and/or using other medications to treat your pain.
Check the ingredients on the label even if you have used the product before. The manufacturer may have changed the ingredients. Also, products with similar names may contain different ingredients meant for different purposes. Taking the wrong product could harm you.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including naproxen) may rarely increase the risk for a heart attack or stroke. This effect can happen at any time while taking this drug but is more likely if you take it for a long time. The risk may be greater if you have heart disease or increased risk for heart disease (for example, due to smoking, family history of heart disease, or conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes). Do not take this drug right before or after heart bypass surgery (CABG).
This drug may rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) bleeding from the stomach or intestines. This effect can occur without warning at any time while taking this drug. Older adults may be at higher risk for this effect.
Stop taking naproxen and get medical help right away if you notice any of these rare but serious side effects: stomach/abdominal pain that doesn't go away, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating, confusion, weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, sudden vision changes.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits and risks of taking this drug.
How to Use This Medication
If you are taking the over-the-counter product, read all directions on the product package before taking this medication. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking naproxen and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 or 3 times a day with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters). Do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking this drug. To prevent stomach upset, take this medication with food, milk, or an antacid.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of stomach bleeding and other side effects, take this medication at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often than directed by your doctor or the package label. For ongoing conditions such as arthritis, continue taking this medication as directed by your doctor.
For certain conditions (such as arthritis), it may take up to two weeks of taking this drug regularly until you get the full benefit.
If you are taking this drug "as needed" (not on a regular schedule), remember that pain medications work best if they are used as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, the medication may not work as well.
If your condition lasts or gets worse, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away. If you are using the nonprescription product to treat fever, consult the doctor right away if the fever worsens or lasts more than 3 days.