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What Is Fenoprofen?

By Paul Scott
Updated May 17, 2024
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Fenoprofen is an analgesic medication belonging to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) family. It is generally prescribed for the relief of mild to moderate pain with particular emphasis on conditions such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Fenoprofen works by inhibiting prostaglandin production, thereby resulting in a reduction in fever, inflammation, and pain. It is a prescription drug in most areas of distribution and is typically presented as capsules and tablets of varying strengths. Although effective, fenoprofen is known to have several drug interactions and its use may pose specific risks for coronary bypass patients and stomach ulcer sufferers.

The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory group of drugs of which fenoprofen is a member are analgesic medicines which reduce pain, fever, and inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin release. Prostaglandins are lipid compounds responsible for a range of biological phenomena including smooth muscle dilation, sensitizing spinal neurons to pain, and inflammatory mediation. They are released by the body in response to injury causing pain and inflammation as part of the body's defense mechanism. In these cases, NSAIDs block the actions of the enzymes responsible for prostaglandin production, thereby effectively reducing the resulting symptoms. The decrease in inflammation associated with their use may also shorten injury recovery times.

Conditions for which fenoprofen is commonly prescribed include bursitis, menstrual cramps, tendinitis, and general muscle strains. The drug is also extensively prescribed to relive the debilitating effects of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Fenoprofen is generally available only by prescription and is available in a number of dosing formats. These include soft capsules and tablets ranging from 200 mg to 600 mg and injectable suspensions. Fenoprofen is found in a number of generic preparations including nalfon, naproxen, and progesic.

Although effective and considered to be a generally safe medication, fenoprofen does interact with several other medicines, and its use has several significant and specific risks. The drug is known to negatively impact on the efficacy of blood pressure regulating medication and induce excessive bleeding in patients using anticoagulants such as warfarin. Users of lithium formulations such as Eskalith® should also avoid using the drug as it may increase lithium blood concentrations to dangerous levels. The drug has also been shown to cause stomach ulcers when combined with heavy alcohol intake. It may also exacerbate existing ulcer conditions.

Average dosages for mild to moderate pain are 200 mg every four to five hours while arthritis sufferers typically take 600 mg three to four times per day. The drug should always be taken with meals to minimize stomach upset. It is not considered safe for consumption by children younger than 14 and should be avoided by ulcer sufferers, those with a history of heart disease, liver or renal disease sufferers, stroke victims, and those with asthma. Some common side effects include constipation, dizziness, nausea, dark urine, bursitis, and fast or irregular heart beat. If any of theses symptoms are detected while using the drug, medical assistance should be sought immediately.

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