What is Naproxen Sodium?

O. Wallace

Naproxen sodium is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is most often used to treat pain, inflammation, menstrual cramps, and fever, as well as conditions affecting the joints. More rarely, it is used in the management of bone conditions like Paget’s disease and kidney disorders like Barrter syndrome. Though it is generally safe to use, some people do experience serious side effects. Pregnant women, children, and heavy drinkers should generally not take this medication.

Naproxen sodium is used to treat menstrual cramps.
Naproxen sodium is used to treat menstrual cramps.


There are both prescription and Over-The-Counter (OTC) versions of naproxen sodium. When prescribed, it's usually available as a tablet, a coated tablet with a delayed release, an extended release pill, or a liquid. Most forms are taken every 8 hours, while the extended-release version is taken once a day. OTC versions generally come in pill form, and are available in 8 to 12 hour dosages. The extended-release forms are popular for those with chronic pain because they don’t have to take a pill every 4 to 6 hours, as with other NSAIDs.

Naproxen sodium is often used to treat fever.
Naproxen sodium is often used to treat fever.

Side Effects

Many people can use naproxen sodium with no side effects, but some get an upset stomach, nausea, constipation, and heartburn after taking it. Drowsiness, headache or ringing in the ears are also possible side effects. Eating food or drinking a glass of water along with the pill can often help keep this from happening.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid taking naproxen sodium.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid taking naproxen sodium.

Other more serious possible side effects include ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and stomach and intestinal holes, so this medication is not suitable for those who have had ulcers in the past. Drinking alcohol and smoking can exacerbate these problems, and so should be avoided when using this drug. Like other NSAIDs, it can affect the kidneys and is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, particularly when taking consistently for a long time. Another serious possible side effect is liver toxicity, which produces symptoms like yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, and pain in the abdomen. Anyone with symptoms like this should seek immediate medical attention.

Side effects of naproxen sodium may include heartburn.
Side effects of naproxen sodium may include heartburn.


Naproxen sodium can interact with antidepressants like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and lithium, so it's important to talk to a doctor before taking these two medications together. People taking blood thinners, Angiotensin-Converting-Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and aspirin should also consult a healthcare professional before taking naproxen sodium, since taking them together can cause an increase in side effects as well as an increased risk of bleeding.

Naproxen sodium can interact adversely with antidepressants in the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) class.
Naproxen sodium can interact adversely with antidepressants in the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) class.

Additional Risks

Due to the potential side effects, only adults and children should take OTC naproxen sodium at home, though healthcare professionals may prescribe it for kids as young as two years of age. Women who are pregnant should not use it, since it can increase the risk of miscarriage in those in the first trimester and potentially cause birth defects in the third trimester. It can also be transmitted through breastfeeding, so it's not suitable for nursing moms. Additionally, those with high blood pressure should not take this medication, because of its high sodium content.

Drowsiness is one side effect of naproxen sodium.
Drowsiness is one side effect of naproxen sodium.

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Discussion Comments


Is naproxen good to treat depression?


Is it okay to take Naproxen Sodium before having a mammogram done? I am scheduled for one in about an hour and half. I do not have anything but this to take for pain at the moment.


These little blue pills are a blessing for sleep aid when the rugrats are running rampant and being loud. I will definitely continue using this product.


I took a few naproxens for a migraine. I didn't know I was a couple weeks pregnant then. Is it possible to cause harm to my baby?


Can you get naproxen sodium over the counter in the United States? I know some people who have prescriptions for it, but I don't think I've seen any on the pharmacy shelves. I'd love to try it for my sore muscles.


@healthy4life – I know that it helps my mom with her arthritis and back pain. It works better than anything else she has tried.

I can't use it, because I have a history of stomach ulcers. I just can't risk bleeding internally. This medicine sounds like it has some pretty dire possible side effects, but anything that works well usually does.


Naproxen sodium is good stuff! If you are sore after a long day at work, it will take the tension out of your muscles and let you relax.

I came to my parents' house after working a ten hour day and I had extremely sore shoulders and a stiff neck. My mother gave me some naproxen, and within the hour, I felt so completely relaxed and sleepy!

It really felt like I had taken a muscle relaxer. I know that it is an anti-inflammatory, but it felt so much more intense than aspirin or ibuprofen.


I have kidney disease and high blood pressure, so this medicine is a double no-no for me! It's sad to me that I can't take any form of NSAID, because I have arthritis and other aches that such drugs would greatly relieve. All I can take is acetaminophen, but it doesn't help inflammation and barely helps with the pain.


if a six year old child accidentally ingests two aleve tablets, could there be any adverse affects on them?


#12 is incorrect. Whenever I went through particularly heavy and painful periods, my OB/GYN put me specifically on naproxen. I quickly learned to use it during every period because, aside from reducing cramping drastically, it invariably lessened the flow without lengthening the period. The stuff is a godsend to women.


I gave my 14 year old son two aleve tablets at 7:00am and two more at 4:00pm before a baseball game. He appeared sluggish and weak and his reflexes were delayed. Could the medicine have acted as a muscle relaxer or made him drowsy?


I have arthritis and I was taking ibruprofen but my doctor suggested naproxen but this seems to cause constipation. What are the advantages of Naproxen over Ibruprofen?


Na means sodium therefore, naproxen sodium is the same thing.


#4 - do not give your dog any human medicine without talking to a veterinarian first.


Will this really help me with my sciatic nerve pain?


#11 - no. It must have been coincidental timing. Girls should have the care of a gynecologist after puberty, so medications should be discussed with them. Naproxen has no effect directly on the reproductive system.

#9 - you should consult with your doctor. Do not take the advice of people you don't know. Especially me.


my sister had menstrual cramps and took naproxen sodium to treat the pain. after one day her period is stopped. is that an effect from the drug?


I have had a heart attack and am on plavix. After recent surgery I found out I have cirrhosis of the liver. Is there any tylenol or aspirin or any other medication in naproxen that would aggravate this condition? I know that the tylenol will and since I'm on plavix, I can only take 1 aspirin per day. --czus


Can this medication cause sores in the mouth and elevated blood pressure?


Is there any difference between Naproxen and Naproxen Na?


How much sodium in Naproxen?


Can I give my dog naproxen in place of aspirin?


if you have diverticulitis is it safe to take this medication?

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