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What Are the Different Naproxen Interactions?

By Henry Gaudet
Updated May 17, 2024
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Naproxen interactions with several medications may cause unintended and undesirable side effects. Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), blood pressure medications, anticoagulants, corticosteroids, lithium, and methotrexate are among the many substances prone to naproxen interactions. Additional substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and dietary supplements can also adversely react with naproxen.

Like other NSAIDs, naproxen is taken to reduce pain, fever and inflammation. Most NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation and naproxen is no exception. The risk and severity of gastrointestinal irritation is increased when other NSAIDs are also taken. Combining this drug with other NSAIDs should be avoided unless under the direction and supervision of a medical professional.

Corticosteroids may also increase stomach irritation when taken with naproxen. Typically, this effect grows over time, and patients regularly taking corticosteroids will not usually experience discomfort from side effects when treating short term pain. Consultation with a doctor is recommended when choosing a treatment for chronic pain.

Individuals regularly taking medications for high blood pressure should be aware of potential naproxen interactions as well. Naproxen will inhibit the effectiveness on many of these drugs. The drug has the opposite effect on anticoagulants, amplifying the blood thinning effect and raising the risk of serious bleeding.

Another source of potentially serious naproxen interactions is lithium. NSAIDs have a tendency to reduce the kidneys’ ability to filter lithium from the body, which in turn causes the substance to build to toxic levels if left uncorrected. Usually, lithium levels build up gradually, taking anywhere from five to 10 days to rise, and returning to normal within a week of discontinuing the NSAID.

Methotrexate may also build up in the body when taken with NSAIDs. Naproxen interactions with methotrexate typically involve side effects related to high doses of that drug, some of which can be quite serious. Patients taking this drug should speak with a doctor or medical professional regarding appropriate pain relief medications, especially when the pain is chronic or severe.

While this list covers some of the most common naproxen interactions, many other prescription and over-the-counter medications may also cause undesired effects when taken with this or other NSAIDs. Patients on any long term medication strategy are urged to discuss potential cross reactions with a doctor.

Non-medical substance may also cause potentially serious naproxen interactions. Alcohol and tobacco products in particular may increase the incidence and severity of stomach irritation when taking it. Many dietary supplements, such as vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements may also react badly with naproxen, and should be taken with caution.

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