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Naproxen: Headache and Migraine Drug Profiles

Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Apo-Naproxen, Nu-Naprox...


Created: June 30, 2004

Type of medication: Over-the-counter. Naproxen is in a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Naproxen works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Naproxen is used to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness caused by many conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, injury, abdominal cramps associated with menstruation, tendinitis, and bursitis.


  • Take naproxen with food, milk, or an antacid to lessen stomach upset.
  • Do not crush or chew any extended-release forms of naproxen. Swallow them whole. They are specially formulated to release slowly in your body. Ask your pharmacist if you do not know if you have an extended-release formulation.
  • Watch for bloody, black, or tarry stools or blood in your vomit. These symptoms could indicate damage to your gastrointestinal tract.
  • If you drink more than three alcoholic beverages a day, naproxen may increase the risk of stomach bleeding
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Naproxen may increase the sensitivity of your skin to sunlight. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when exposure to the sun is unavoidable.
  • Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Naproxen may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid these activities.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

  • FDA pregnancy category B. This means that it is unlikely to harm an unborn baby. Naproxen should not be taken late in pregnancy (the third trimester) because a similar drug is known to affect the baby's heart. Do not take naproxen without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.
  • Naproxen passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing infant. Do not take this medicine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Other medical conditions:
Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • have an allergy to aspirin or any other NSAIDs,
  • have an ulcer or bleeding in your stomach
  • drink more than three alcoholic beverages a day
  • have liver disease
  • have kidney disease
  • have a coagulation (bleeding) disorder
  • have congestive heart failure
  • have fluid retention
  • have heart disease
  • have high blood pressure

Other medications:
Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, especially:

  • other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Rufen, others), ketoprofen (Orudis, Orudis KT, Oruvail)
  • other commonly used NSAIDs, including diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam), etodolac (Lodine), fenoprofen (Nalfon), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), indomethacin (Indocin), ketorolac (Toradol), nabumetone (Relafen), oxaprozin (Daypro), piroxicam (Feldene), sulindac (Clinoril), or tolmetin (Tolectin)
  • aspirin and other salicylates (forms of aspirin) such as salsalate (Disalcid), choline salicylate, and magnesium salicylate (watch the aspirin content of other over-the-counter products such as cough, cold, and allergy medicines)
  • diuretics (water pills) such as hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, Hydrodiuril, others), chlorothiazide (Diuril, others), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), bumetanide (Bumex), ethacrynic acid, furosemide (Lasix), spironolactone (Aldactone), and amiloride (Midamor)
  • anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • steroids such as prednisone (Deltasone)
  • alcohol
  • oral antidiabetic drugs such as glipizide (Glucotrol) and glyburide (Micronase, Diabeta)
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, others)
  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral)
  • bismuth subsalicylate in drugs such as Pepto-Bismol of other drugs, such as
    • angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, such as benazepril (Lotensin) and captopril (Capoten)
    • other commonly used ACE inhibitors, including enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), quinapril (Accupril), and ramipril (Altace)
    • beta-blockers, used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, such as acebutolol (Sectral), metoprolol (Lopressor), propranolol (Inderal, atenolol (Tenormin), and carteolol (Cartrol)
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