Naproxen is used to relieve pain from various conditions. 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. See also Warning section.
Some brands of sustained-release naproxen take longer to be absorbed and are not recommended for pain that needs quick relief (such as during a gout attack). Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your particular brand.
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: black/tarry stools, persistent stomach/abdominal pain, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating, confusion, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits and risks of taking this drug.
How to Use This Medication
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using 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 once daily 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.
Do not crush or chew this medication. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor will usually start you on the short-acting form of this medication and switch you over to this form if it provides the proper dose and if your pain/condition lasts for a long time. 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. For ongoing conditions such as arthritis, continue taking this medication as directed by your doctor.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
For certain conditions (such as arthritis), it may take up to two weeks of taking this drug regularly until you get the full benefit.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.