Naproxen belongs to a group of drugs called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs), which are used to reduce the pain and inflammation of joints, muscles and tendons affected by Still’s Disease and similar conditions. Quite often, they are the first choice of treatment from your GP, particularly if symptoms are mild.
Brand names include: Naprosyn, Aleve, Synflex, Naprotec and Vimovo.
Naproxen works by blocking a substance, known as COX, which is involved in producing the inflammatory chemicals in response to an injury or illness, and so reduces this inflammation.
It usually comes in tablet form but can also be prescribed as a liquid for children and those who find swallowing tablets difficult. You will need to follow your doctor’s directions on taking this medication, usually two or three times daily, depending on the strength of the tablets (250mg, 375mg or 500mg); treatment can be short-term or long-term.
You may not be able take Naproxen if you have severe Asthma, Stomach Ulcer, Stomach bleeding, blood clotting disorders, Kidney or Liver problems, or if you have reacted to the ingredients previously.
Side Effects most people experience are gastric but include:
- Stomach pain/discomfort
- Nausea and sickness
- Diarrhoea or Constipation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Mouth sores
- Increased thirst
Of course, like all drugs, there is also a risk of allergic reaction and so you should see a doctor immediately if you eperience any of the following: Shortness of breath, swelling of the mouth or face, severe skin rash.
Prolonged use of NSAIDs in general have been linked to an increase in blood pressure and an increased risk of developing cardio-vascular problems, including hypertension, stroke and heart attack.
Your doctor may prescribe another medication with Naproxen to help protect your stomach and prevent gastric problems, especially in longterm usage. There are also a few other things you can try in order to limit unpleasant side effects:
- Make sure that you take Naproxen on a full stomach.
- Take the tablet with a glass of milk.
- If you are given a tablet to help protect your stomach, take this half an hour before the Naproxen itself.
- Eat little and often and avoid spicy foods.
- Drink plenty of fluid.
I have been presribed Naproxen a number of times throughout my various diagnoses. Firstly, as a young child of three or four, then later as a fourteen year old; so, it appears it is a safe choice for children. I don’t remember having any side effects, apart from some mild stomach discomfort as a teenager, but by then I was on a higher dose.
My GP has recently prescribed me Naproxen once again, in an attempt to give me some extra pain relief, even though previous doctors have said that if my regular medications haven’t helped then the Naproxen won’t touch it. In my present state I felt it was worth a try though, so I will see out this four week course. I am taking the 500mg tablets twice a day and also Lansoprazole in the morning to prevent any stomach issues; I haven’t had any trouble with it so far, but I’m not sure if I’ve had any benefit either.
Naproxen Information (NHS Online)
The Facts About NSAIDs (StillsDisease.org)