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Naproxen Naxen Aleve Profile

Pharmaceutical Name: Naproxen
Drug Classification: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory
Active Life: 8-16 hours

Naproxen belongs to a drug class known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Primarily these drugs are prescribed and administered to help combat pain related to inflammation resulting from such ailments as arthritis, tendonitis, and soft tissue damage or other such injuries of this type. For use by bodybuilders and strength athletes Naproxen will most often be used to treat post-workout soreness in muscles and joints as they relate to inflammation.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are some of the most widely available and most frequently used drugs in the world. This speaks to their effectiveness but also to their acceptance as a safe drug that is offered as over-the-counter medication. Naproxen is one of the more popular versions of this drug class and is commercially available throughout most of North America and Europe.

Naproxen works by inhibiting the release of inflammatory prostaglandins and prostaglandins biosynthesis. This inhibition itself will reduce the swelling of tissues and pain and discomfort that result from these conditions. A difficulty that arises for bodybuilders, strength athletes and athletes in general when using Naproxen and other similar drugs is the effect of the drug on protein synthesis. It has been demonstrated that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will partially inhibit protein synthesis that normally takes place post-exercise (1). This of course will negatively impact post-workout recovery and muscle growth. This is not to say however that recovery of the muscles exercised will completely cease. Rather protein synthesis will simply be less efficient and recovery will be slower to take place. This will cause potential users to have to weigh the positives and negatives of administering Naproxen. It will help with delayed onset muscle soreness, joint pain, and other common maladies of weight trainers but may also negatively impact recovery post-workout. At the very least the use of Naproxen should be limited to those instances when a user requires it to alleviate moderate to severe pain and not just regular soreness that results from intense weight training or activity.


Naproxen is available in an oral, topical and injectable versions of the drug. For most users however the oral tablets or capsules will be the most commonly used and available means of administering the drug. There is little to no reason why for anyone other then those with serious medical conditions to administer the drug using the injectable version. The topical version of Naproxen would be impractical and unnecessary for most users as well.

In terms of dosing for the drug, the low end dose is primarily stated as being approximately two hundred milligrams per dose. This dose can increase substantially depending on the tolerance of the user, the condition that is attempting to be alleviated, and the individual reaction of the user to the drug, among other variables (2). Due to the active life of the drug being between eight and sixteen hours in length two or three doses throughout a twenty-four hour period may be necessary to ensure that the effects of the drug remain continuous if needed.

As for the duration that one can run Naproxen, this depends on the dosages and frequency with which the user is administering the drug. As will be discussed below in the Risks/Side Effects section of this profile, there is some concern with hepatoxicity when using this drug and if used for an extended amount of time this should be taken under consideration when deciding the best course of action to treat inflammation and/or pain. Consultation and monitoring by a medical doctor may be necessary if extended use of Naproxen is required by the user to treat his or her condition.

Risks/Side Effects

The most widely believed serious side effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naproxen is liver toxicity. This is despite the majority of the scientific evidence indicating that hepatoxicity related to Naproxen use is extremely infrequent (3, 4, 5, 6, 7). This is not to say that there are not risks associated with heavy, long-term use of Naproxen but rather that in the course of normal directed use of the drug healthy users should not experience any severe liver disorders.

A more common side effect in healthy users using moderate doses of the drug is gastric discomfort. This is related to Naproxen causing an increase in the gastric acid concentration in the stomach of the user (8, 9). Most often a decrease in the dose used by the user will alleviate any discomfort experienced, but some users will simply have to discontinue use of the drug due to this negative side effect. Ingesting the drug with food or fluids may lessen the severity of such reactions however and will not lessen the effect or potency of the drug.

Beyond these possible risks most users will tolerate Naproxen extremely well. Allergic reactions to the drug are extremely rare among North American and European users. A very small minority of users may experience such side effects as dizziness, dry mouth and/or muscle cramps when using Naproxen but these side effects are rare.


1. Trappe, White et al. Effect of ibuprofen and acetaminophen on post exercise muscle protein synthesis. Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Mar;282(3):E551-6.

2. Bjornsson GA, Haanaes HR, Skoglund LA. Naproxen 500 mg bid versus acetaminophen 1000 mg qid: effect on swelling and other acute postoperative events after bilateral third molar surgery. J Clin Pharmacol. 2003 Aug;43(8):849-58.

3. Rostom A, Goldkind L, Laine L. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and hepatic toxicity: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials in arthritis patients. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 May;3(5):489-98.

4. Claria J, Kent JD, Lopez-Parra M, Escolar G, Ruiz-Del-Arbol L, Gines P, Jimenez W, Vucelic B, Arroyo V. Effects of celecoxib and naproxen on renal function in nonazotemic patients with cirrhosis and ascites. Hepatology. 2005 Mar;41(3):579-87.

5. Manoukian AV, Carson JL. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced hepatic disorders. Incidence and prevention. Drug Saf. 1996 Jul;15(1):64-71.

6. Walker AM, Bortnichak EA, Lanza L, Yood RA. The infrequency of liver function testing in patients using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Arch Fam Med. 1995 Jan;4(1):24-9.

7. Jick H, Derby LE, Garcia Rodriguez LA, Jick SS, Dean AD. Liver disease associated with diclofenac, naproxen, and piroxicam. Pharmacotherapy. 1992;12(3):207-12.

8. Goldstein JL, Aisenberg J, Lanza F, Schwartz H, Sands GH, Berger MF, Pan S. A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, active-comparator, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparison of the incidence of endoscopic gastric and duodenal ulcer rates with valdecoxib or naproxen in healthy subjects aged 65 to 75 years. Clin Ther. 2006 Mar;28(3):340-51.

9. Rodriguez-Stanley S, Redinger N, Miner PB Jr. Effect of naproxen on gastric acid secretion and gastric pH. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jun 15;23(12):1719-24.

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