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Side Effects of Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox)


Side Effects of Naproxen (Aleve)

Naproxen, available as Aleve, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Aleve reduces hormones causing inflammation and pain in the body. Aleve is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendinitis, bursitis, gout, or menstrual cramps.

Before Taking Aleve

The Aleve label lsited by the FDA reports precuations before taking Aleve. Aleve can increase the risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if used it for long term, taken in high doses, or if you have heart disease. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).


If you have a known allergy to Aleve, had an asthma attack, or had a severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID, do not take Aleve.


Aleve should be avoided during the last 3 months of pregnancy because it may harm the unborn baby. Do not breast-feed while taking Aleve because it can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of stomach bleeding associated with naproxen so it should be avoided.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects reported with Aleve are:


  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Swelling in the hands or feet
  • Feeling heartbeat at rest (palpitations)
  • Breathlessness
  • Bruising
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Sweating


(Aleve label reported by the FDA).

When to Contact Your Doctor

The FDA warns to contact your doctor if you have signs of:


  • An allergic reaction (sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, wheezing or trouble breathing)
  • Hives
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Signs of a heart attack or stroke
  • Chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder
  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Feeling short of breath


In addition, stop Aleve treatment and contact your healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms: blood in vomit or stool, dark and/or tarry stools, liver problems (nausea, fatigue, lethargy, jaundice, yellowing of the skin and eyes, right upper quadrant tenderness, and flu symptoms), skin reactions (pruritus, a severe itching reaction, rash, and blisters), kidney problems, (little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles), unusual bruising or bleeding, and unusual weight gain.

Drug Interactions

Discuss with your healthcare provider if you are taking the following medicines because the risk of bleeding may be increased: anticoagulants (Warfarin), aspirin, clopidogrel, corticosteroids (prednisone), heparin and other blood thinners (dalteparin), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (fluoxetine).


Probenecid may increase the risk of naproxen’s side effects. There is a higher risk of Aleve’s side effects when Aleve interacts with cyclosporine, lithium, metformin, methotrexate, aspirin or oral NSAIDs, or quinolones (ciprofloxacin).


The effectiveness of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (enalapril) or diuretics (furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide) may be decreased by Aleve. Antacids can also inhibit the absorption of Aleve.

About Pharmacogenetic Testing

Variations in gene encoding drug metabolizing enzyme, CYP2C9, might play a significant role in the pain relieving and side effect NSAIDs, including Aleve. Pharmacogenetic testing detects the variations and enable you and your healthcare provider to optimize this drug for you.

Know Your Risk with the Rxight® Genetic Test

Rxight® genetic testing gives patients their individualized analysis of 18 genes and alleles that affect the metabolism liver enzymes of over 200 prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including Aleve. Rxight® shows patients how they metabolize medications and help their healthcare provider in understanding what medications are safe and ineffective for you.


Call us to learn more about Rxight® pharmacogenetic testing, at 1-888-888-1932 or email us at support@Rxight.com.


Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® Individualized Medicine