Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory pain medication that is widely used to manage pain and inflammation among adults and adolescents 16 years and over. There are also other conditions where it is used such as the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Acute gout
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Tendinitis, strains, sprains, neck pain, back pain
How naproxen works
Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by blocking the action of an enzyme in the body known as cyclo-oxygenase (COX).
COX is a component in producing substances specifically prostaglandins as a response to injury and in certain diseases. The prostaglandins trigger pain, swelling and inflammation.
Naproxen works by controlling the pain by reducing the production of prostaglandins. The drug also helps reduce the pain and swelling after one dose but the anti-inflammatory effect accumulates over a few weeks of using it regularly.
It is also suitable for reducing dysmenorrhea since it reduces the production of prostaglandins involved in allowing the contraction of the womb during menstruation.
Even though highly beneficial in managing pain from various causes, naproxen should not be used in some instances such as the following:
- Individuals who has an allergic reaction after aspirin or other NSAIDs were used.
- Individuals who are highly sensitive or allergic to one of the components in the drug.
- Those who have severe liver, heart or kidney failure.
- Individuals with peptic ulcer or bleeding in the gut.
- Women who are in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy
- Individuals who are using other types of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and COX-2 inhibitors.
If in doubt whether to use naproxen, the individual should consult a doctor first if it can be taken safely or suitable for his/her condition.