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Pain

Naproxen Dosage - Everything You Need To Know

by Andy Boysan (BPharm)

Andy is a co-founder, the superintendent pharmacist and director at The Independent Pharmacy.

If you’re looking for pain relief tablets, then you’ve probably already heard of Naproxen. This popular anti-inflammatory painkiller is used for a range of different health conditions, including arthritis, gout and menstrual pain. But what is the right Naproxen dose for you? 

When it comes to taking Naproxen (or indeed, any other medication), it is important that you get your dosage right to make sure that your pain is treated properly and you don’t suffer unnecessarily from any unwanted side effects.

We’ve created this guide on Naproxen dosage so that you can easily find out more about how to take this painkiller properly. We also cover whether there are any interacting medicines you should avoid and whether you can drink alcohol while taking Naproxen, as well as finding out exactly how safe Naproxen is to use.

Find out more about any potential Naproxen side effects in our dedicated guide.

 

Why it’s important to get the dosage right

Taking the wrong Naproxen dosage for whatever reason is not recommended.

If you take a higher dosage than needed, then you increase your chances of experiencing adverse side effects and the possible health risks associated with using strong doses of Naproxen (particularly on your stomach).

Conversely, taking a Naproxen dosage that is too low for you and your condition may mean that your pain and inflammation isn’t effectively treated or relieved.

You should always take this medicine (and any other) exactly as your pharmacist or GP tells you to. The recommended course of treatment and dosage for you will be printed on your prescription on the label on your medicine package.

If you are unsure at all about how you should be taking Naproxen or what your dosage is, you can speak to us or your doctor for further guidance. 

 

What is the difference between Naproxen dosages?

There are a few different strength Naproxen dosages available that are used to treat a range of different conditions and health problems (ranging from 250mg to 750mg strength tablets). 

The dose of Naproxen that is prescribed to you depends on why you're taking it, your age, your general health (as well as any other underlying health conditions), and how well it helps your symptoms.

At The Independent Pharmacy, you can buy Naproxen in two doses: Naproxen 250mg tablets and Naproxen 500mg tablets. We only supply gastro-resistant tablets to ensure that the chances of experiencing stomach-related side effects are as low as possible.

 

Naproxen 250mg

If you need a weaker dose, then you can order the Naproxen 250mg tablets.

Lower doses like this are usually prescribed for older people, as well as people with heart, kidney or liver problems.

Naproxen 250mg may be used to treat a range of conditions such as headaches, period pain and cramps, muscle aches, tendonitis, and dental pains, as well as inflammation and stiffness from arthritis, bursitis and gout attacks.

For conditions and disorders like this, your doctor or pharmacist may suggest 500mg at first, then 250mg every six to eight hours as required.

 

Naproxen 500mg

Naproxen 500mg tablets may be used to treat arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (the usual dose for this is between 500mg and 1000mg daily in either one or two doses).

For attacks of gout, the normal dose is 750mg, followed by 250mg every eight hours until the attack has passed.

 

Naproxen and alcohol: can you drink alcohol with Naproxen?

If you want to know whether you can drink alcohol on Naproxen, the answer is yes.

Combining alcohol and Naproxen will not have any dangerous effects on your health. However, it is recommended to stick to a reasonable quantity of alcohol. When mixed with Naproxen, excessive amounts of alcohol can irritate the stomach and exacerbate gastrointestinal side effects like stomach upsets, stomach pain and nausea.

Some people who take Naproxen may also experience side effects like dizziness or tiredness, which can also be worsened by excessive drinking.

 

Naproxen interactions

Naproxen tablets can interact with other drugs, which can affect how well any other medicines you are currently taking work (as well as how well Naproxen works). These interactions can also increase your chances of experiencing side effects, as well as making them more severe. 

Avoid taking Naproxen if you are currently using — or planning to use — any of the following medicines:

  • Other anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen or diclofenac
  • Blood-thinners or medicines that reduce blood clotting such as heparin or warfarin
  • Corticosteroids such as prednisolone or dexamethasone
  • Diuretics (‘water tablets’) such as furosemide
  • Medicines to treat high blood pressure such as captopril, ramipril or propranolol, losartan or candesartan
  • Lithium
  • Mifepristone — you shouldn’t take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Naproxen) 8-12 days after mifepristone
  • SSRI antidepressants such as citalopram and fluoxetine
  • Ciclosporin or tacrolimus
  • Zidovudine
  • Quinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin
  • Methotrexate
  • Probenecid
  • Bisphosphonates such as alendronic acid
  • Colestyramine — take Naproxen one hour before or 4 to 6 hours after colestyramine to avoid interference with absorption
  • Cardiac glycosides such as digoxin
  • Hydantoins such as phenytoin
  • Sulphonamides such as sulfamethoxazole
  • Sulphonylureas such as glibenclamide or gliclazide

You should always check with your doctor first before starting a new course of treatment, especially if you are already taking medicines. Your doctor will be able to advise you on whether Naproxen is suitable for you to take, or suggest an alternative. 

 

Naproxen and other painkillers 

Although Naproxen should not be taken alongside other anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or aspirin (this can cause damage to the stomach), you can take Naproxen alongside certain other painkillers.

These painkillers can be taken at the same time as Naproxen:

  • Paracetamol
  • Codeine 
  • Co-codamol 
  • Tramadol
  • Morphine

Paracetamol and opioid-type painkillers (such as codeine) are fine to use alongside Naproxen.

It is also important to remember that cold-and-flu remedies can sometimes contain ibuprofen or aspirin, so you should avoid taking this while you are using Naproxen. The same goes for anti-inflammatory gels.

If you are unsure about what you can and can’t take alongside Naproxen tablets, you can check the ingredients or patient list for each medication, or speak to us for further advice.

 

How long does Naproxen take to work?

When it comes to how long Naproxen takes to work, it’s generally around one hour after taking a tablet. 

It can take up to two hours for you to feel the full effects of the Naproxen dosage you have taken. However, for most people, results are quicker than this. 

As for how long Naproxen lasts, pain relief from Naproxen lasts for around 8-12 hours — compared to ibuprofen, which lasts for 4-6 hours.

In some cases (depending on your dose, course of treatment and condition), it might take up to three days for you to feel the full effects of Naproxen working properly.

 

Is taking Naproxen dangerous?

Naproxen isn’t dangerous if you’re only using it for short-term pain relief (normally around a few weeks or so). Depending on why you’re taking Naproxen, your doctor might only suggest taking it for a day or two, or you may need it for longer. 

Using Naproxen for long-term pain relief isn’t usually recommended, especially in strong doses. This is because there are health risks associated with taking Naproxen for long periods of time.

Taking Naproxen for a long time or in large doses can cause ulcers in your stomach or gut, as well as gastrointestinal bleeding and other problems. These risks can normally be offset by using a medicine called a PPI, such as omeprazole, to protect your stomach.

It may also (although this is a small risk) result in heart failure — with an increased risk of stroke, heart attacks and clotting problems — and kidney failure. 

If you find yourself taking Naproxen often, in large doses, or for long periods of time, then you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to discuss other pain relief options that will work better (and more safely) for you long-term. 

 

Naproxen overdose

As with any medicine, you can overdose on Naproxen. This can result in unwanted and unpleasant side effects, which could be harmful. 

That is why it is so important to get the Naproxen dose right for your condition and your needs.

If you forget to take a tablet and miss a dose, then take another tablet when you remember. If it is nearly time for your next dose of Naproxen then skip your missed one and carry on as normal, taking your next tablet at the time you usually would. Never double up to make up for missing a dose.

If you take too many Naproxen tablets by accident, contact your GP or call 111 straight away for further advice.

 

Is it safe to take Naproxen every day?

It is safe to take Naproxen every day (and multiple times a day), as long as it is for short periods of time.

In fact, to successfully treat an acute injury such as a sprain or strain, it is often best to take it regularly (daily or twice daily) for a number of days.

However, it isn’t recommended to take Naproxen daily for any length of time unless specifically advised to do so by your doctor. If you find yourself taking Naproxen daily for more than two weeks, it’s worth speaking to your doctor or pharmacist about whether there is a more suitable pain relief solution for you. They may also suggest a medicine like Omeprazole which helps to suppress stomach acid and protect your stomach lining from any damage caused by the Naproxen.

 

What is an alternative to Naproxen?

There are a few medicines that work as a Naproxen alternative — mostly other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which can effectively treat inflammation and swelling.

Diclofenac (also known as diclofenac sodium) and aceclofenac work in a similar way to Naproxen and have similar effects and effectiveness. However, despite Naproxen and diclofenac being similar in efficacy, Naproxen is generally recommended by doctors and pharmacists over diclofenac. This is because of the higher risk of unwanted side effects from diclofenac, including gastrointestinal and heart problems.

Etodolac (another NSAID) is also comparable in efficacy to Naproxen. It is licensed for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

At The Independent Pharmacy, we offer these naproxen-based alternatives to generic Naproxen tablets:

You could also use high-strength 400mg ibuprofen tablets, which is also an anti-inflammatory and painkiller, as a Naproxen alternative. If your pain is localised, then you could apply ibuprofen gel to the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation. 

Depending on the cause of your pain and type of pain you have, you could try other painkillers rather than anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin or paracetamol (which are available to buy over the counter). If you want to buy stronger medicines like co-codamol or codeine-based treatments, or higher doses, you may need a prescription. 

 

Naproxen ingredients

The active ingredient in Naproxen 250 mg and Naproxen 500 mg Tablets is naproxen.

Each Naproxen 250 mg tablet contains 250 mg (milligrams) of naproxen and each Naproxen 500 mg tablet contains 500 mg (milligrams) of naproxen.

The other (inactive) ingredients in Naproxen tablets can vary depending on the manufacturer. If you have any allergies or intolerances, please make your prescriber and pharmacist aware and ensure you read the patient information leaflet before taking.

You should not take Naproxen if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed in the patient information leaflet.

 

 

Summary

Naproxen is a powerful anti-inflammatory painkiller which is used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with a range of different health conditions (such as arthritis, gout or menstrual pain).

When it comes to taking Naproxen to relieve pain, it is important that you get your dosage right and follow the instructions set for you by your doctor or pharmacist.

It is generally advised that you do not take Naproxen for long periods of time in high doses. Doing so increases your risks of unwanted and harmful side effects, particularly to your stomach and gut (such as stomach ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding).

However, if you use Naproxen as recommended, then it is very safe and effective as a treatment for pain and inflammation. It is perfectly safe to take Naproxen every day (and multiple times a day) for short periods of time as short-term pain relief.

At The Independent Pharmacy, we offer Naproxen in two doses: Naproxen 250mg tablets and Naproxen 500mg tablets. 

If you aren’t sure which is best for you, speak to one of our qualified pharmacists. 

To buy Naproxen tablets for fast-acting and effective pain relief, you just need to fill in our online consultation form. Once your order is reviewed and approved, we will be able to dispatch your medication for next-day delivery. 

 

Sources

Authored By:

A photo of  Andy Boysan

Andy Boysan

BPharm

Published on: 21-09-2020

Last modified on: 21-09-2020


Andy is a co-founder, the superintendent pharmacist and director at The Independent Pharmacy.

Reviewed By:

A photo of  Leanne Sinclair

Leanne Sinclair

BPharm

Reviewed on: 21-09-2020

Next review date: 21-09-2022


Leanne is a clinical pharmacist with years of experience working in pharmacy.


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