Tags: Arthritis | naproxen | arthritis | joint | pain | benefits | risks

Naproxen: The Benefits and Risks for Arthritis and Joint Pain

By    |   Monday, 17 Aug 2015 04:38 PM

Naproxen is the most commonly prescribed over-the-counter medication for arthritis and joint pain sufferers. It is sold under the brand name Aleve and is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

It functions to block prostaglandin production, a hormone-like substance that causes pain and inflammation in your body, according to Everyday Health.

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The medication, while considered safe, can raise risks for heart attack or stroke in some patients, the website noted. It can also cause ulcers and other gastric problems when taken for a long time. Bleeding is also a risk in those who are elderly.

People with liver disease, kidney problems, anemia, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease may also be at risk for side effects from taking naproxen.

Among other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), diclofenac (Voltaren), and celecoxib (Celebrex), naproxen is thought to have fewer heart-related side effects, the Arthritis Foundation noted.

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NSAID drugs function to inhibit two enzymes: COX-1 and COX-2. The first protects the stomach and the other eases inflammation and pain. An FDA inquiry determined that more study was needed to confirm this definitively, the Foundation said.

Long-term consumption of NSAIDs like naproxen may impact blood pressure. According to Health Day, one study found women who took "a moderate high dose" of the pain meds daily were 78 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than those who didn't take the drugs.

A National Institute of Health study looking at the impact of NSAIDs on helping to treat Alzheimer's patients was stopped early after scientists found that those who took naproxen "were 50 percent more likely to have heart attacks or strokes," Health Day said.

Taken in moderation, naproxen can help with reducing "pain, swelling, and joint stiffness caused by arthritis, bursitis, and gout attacks," says WebMD. However, it is not a cure.

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Naproxen is the most commonly prescribed over-the-counter medication for arthritis and joint pain sufferers. It is sold under the brand name Aleve and is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
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