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What Is Aleve?

What You Should Know About Aleve

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Updated March 18, 2013

Over-the-counter pain relievers, like Aleve (naproxen sodium), Advil (ibuprofen), and Tylenol (acetaminophen), are presumed to be safe. Since they don't require a prescription, directions and warnings aren't always taken seriously. Before taking any medication, whether it is available over-the-counter or by prescription only, you should learn basic facts about the drug to ensure safe use.

What Is Aleve?

Aleve is a brand name, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is available over-the-counter. Aleve (220 mg naproxen sodium) is actually the nonprescription strength of Anaprox (275 mg naproxen sodium), a fast-acting form of the medicine in Naprosyn. Generic naprosyn is available, as well.

Indications for Aleve

Aleve is used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. Aleve temporarily relieves minor aches and pains that occur with headache, toothache, backache, menstrual cramps, the common cold, muscular aches, and minor arthritis pain.

Dosage Instructions for Aleve

Directions state that you should take one Aleve every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms last. For the first dose, you can take 2 Aleve within the first hour. You should not exceed 2 Aleve in any 8 to 12-hour period and should not exceed 3 Aleve in any 24-hour period.

Formulations of Aleve

Aleve comes in tablets, caplets, gelcaps, liquid gels, or capsules. Each Aleve contains 200 mg naproxen and 20 mg sodium. The sodium helps the body absorb Aleve more quickly.

Side Effects / Warnings for Aleve

While Aleve can be very effective, it is not without risks. Allergic reactions can occur in people who take naproxen. If you have an allergic reaction -- hives, facial swelling, asthma, skin rash, blisters, or shock -- stop taking Aleve and seek emergency medical care.

Aleve and other NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding. It's important to be aware of symptoms associated with stomach bleeding. If you experience signs or symptoms of bleeding, seek medical care. Ignoring signs of bleeding could be life-threatening.

If you have had any of the following problems or concerns, discuss Aleve with your doctor or pharmacist before using the drug:

  • serious side effects from taking any pain reliever or fever reducer
  • problems with your stomach that are persistent or recur on a regular basis such as heartburn, stomach pain, or upset stomach
  • ulcers or bleeding problems
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • asthma

If you have non-insulin-dependent (type II) diabetes and take oral medications for that condition, discuss Aleve with your doctor before taking it. There is the possibility of interaction with some of these medications.

You should discuss Aleve with your doctor before using it if you take a diuretic, blood thinner, aspirin, steroid, or other NSAID. You should actually discuss potential drug interaction with any other drugs you take just to be safe.

Aleve can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. The risk increases with higher dosages or prolonged use of Aleve. You should not take Aleve just before or after having heart bypass surgery. Also, unless otherwise directed, pregnant woman should not take Aleve during their last trimester.

When taking Aleve, the smallest effective dose should be used to minimize the potential for side effects. Your doctor will help you determine the right dose. Discuss any concerns you have about Aleve with your doctor.

More information about Aleve

Source:

Aleve FAQs. Bayer HealthCare. Accessed 7/31/09
http://aleve.com/faqs.php

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