Naproxen is a widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that belongs to the propionic acid class of medications. It is available by prescription and over-the-counter under various brand names, including Aleve, Anaprox, and Naprosyn. Naproxen works by reducing inflammation, pain, and fever in the body.

How Naproxen Works

Naproxen, like other NSAIDs, works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that play a key role in the body’s inflammatory response. They also contribute to the sensation of pain and fever. By blocking the enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which are involved in prostaglandin synthesis, naproxen effectively reduces inflammation, pain, and fever.

Conditions Treated with Naproxen

Arthritis

Naproxen is commonly prescribed to manage symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, naproxen helps to reduce joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain, slowing down joint damage and improving overall function. For those with osteoarthritis, naproxen alleviates pain and enhances mobility by reducing inflammation in the affected joints.

Menstrual Cramps

Many women rely on naproxen to ease the discomfort of menstrual cramps. By reducing the production of prostaglandins, which cause the uterus to contract and shed its lining during menstruation, naproxen effectively lessens painful cramping.

Headaches and Migraines

Naproxen is also used to treat various types of headaches, including migraines. Its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective option for managing headache symptoms.

Other Conditions

In addition to the above, healthcare providers may prescribe naproxen for other conditions involving pain and inflammation, such as tendinitis, bursitis, back pain, and gout.

Side Effects and Risks of Naproxen Use

Common Side Effects

While generally well-tolerated, naproxen can cause side effects. The most common ones include stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, nausea, and dizziness. These side effects are usually mild and tend to subside over time.

Serious Side Effects

In rare cases, naproxen may cause severe side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include shortness of breath, chest pain, slurred speech, vision or balance problems, and black or bloody stools. If any of these symptoms occur, it is crucial to stop taking naproxen and seek medical help right away.

Gastrointestinal Risks

Long-term use of naproxen, particularly at high doses, can increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers and bleeding. To minimize this risk, patients should take naproxen with food or milk and avoid combining it with alcohol or other NSAIDs.

Cardiovascular Risks

Naproxen, like other NSAIDs, may slightly elevate the risk of heart attack or stroke, especially for those with pre-existing heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Patients with a history of cardiovascular issues should discuss the risks and benefits of naproxen with their healthcare provider.

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naproxen pills

Safe Use of Naproxen

To ensure the safe use of naproxen, it is crucial to follow the dosage instructions provided by a healthcare professional. Patients should not take naproxen in larger amounts or for longer than prescribed. They should also inform their doctor about any other medications, supplements, or herbal products they are taking, as naproxen may interact with certain substances.

Naproxen Misuse and Addiction

Potential for Abuse

Like other prescription painkillers, naproxen carries a risk of misuse and abuse, particularly among individuals with a history of substance abuse. Signs of naproxen abuse may include taking higher doses than prescribed, continuing to use the drug after the medical need has ended, and experiencing cravings or withdrawal symptoms when not taking it.

Addiction Treatment at JourneyPure for Naproxen

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to prescription medications like naproxen, JourneyPure is here to help. Our compassionate team of addiction specialists provides evidence-based treatment tailored to each individual’s unique needs. With centers located in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida, we offer a range of programs designed to support lasting recovery.

Don’t let addiction control your life any longer. Take the first step towards a brighter future by calling JourneyPure today at 888-985-2207. Our caring professionals are ready to guide you on the path to healing and recovery.

Staff Spotlight

Will Long


Writer
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • years in the field

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