Sounds like 'nah-PROX-en'

Easy-to-read medicine information about naproxen – what it is, how to take naproxen safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicineAlso called
  • Analgesics (pain killer)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID)  
  • Noflam®
  • Naxen®
  • Naprosyn®
  • Naprosyn SR®

What is naproxen?

  • Naproxen is one of a group of medicines known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • It is used to treat different types of pain such as muscle pain, dental pain, migraine and pain resulting from injury or after surgery.
  • Naproxen also helps to ease redness and swelling caused by injury, and acute gout attacks.
  • It blocks the inflammation process in your body and in this way eases swelling and pain.


  • The dose of naproxen will be different for different people.
  • Always take your naproxen exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much naproxen to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take naproxen

  • Take naproxen with food or immediately after food, to prevent stomach upset.
  • Take naproxen with a full glass of water.
  • Swallow the tablets whole. Do not crush or chew them.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol while you are taking naproxen. Alcohol can increase the risk of stomach side effects.
  • It is not harmful if you miss your naproxen dose. If you miss a dose, take it when you remember, with or after food. Do not take double the amount of tablets.

Take care

  • For most people, taking naproxen is safe. However, extra care is needed if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, your kidney do not work very well or you smoke.
  • Discuss with your doctor if taking naproxen is suitable for you.
  • Non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke, either of which can lead to death. These serious side effects can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID and the risk may increase the longer you are taking an NSAID.
  • The risk appears greater at higher doses; use the lowest effective amount for the shortest possible time.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms such as:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
    • sudden weakness or numbness in one part or side of the body
    • sudden slurred speech.
  • Many medicines contain NSAIDs, including those used for colds, flu, so it is important to read the labels and avoid taking multiple medicines that contain NSAIDs.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, naproxen can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effectsWhat should I do?
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Take naproxen with food.
  • Serious stomach problems such as really bad stomach pain, blood in the stool or black stools, cough or vomit up blood or dark coloured vomit.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine on 0800 611 116
  • Allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of the lips, face, and mouth or difficulty breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine on 0800 611 116
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Weakness in one part or side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine on 0800 611 116


  • Naproxen interacts with some important medications, so check with your doctor or pharmacist:
  • Do not take other NSAID medication such as ibuprofen or diclofenac while taking naproxen.

Learn more

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets:

Naprosyn SR Modified release tablet



New Zealand Formulary Patient Information

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 13 Jul 2015