Naproxen sodium is one of the effective medications for treating arthritis pain. It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) recommended for treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis and juvenile arthritis. Naproxen sodium is available under different brand names. It usually comes in the form of 275 mg and 550 mg tablets.
Lower doses of the drugs are available over-the-counter, whereas higher doses can be obtained only with prescription. The 275 mg tablet contains 250 mg naproxen and 25 mg sodium, and the 550 mg tablet combines 500 mg of naproxen with 50 mg of sodium. Just as other NSAIDs, naproxen sodium can cause serious side effects. To minimize the risk of adverse reactions, doctors, in most cases, recommend the lowest dosage of the drug for the shortest period.
How Naproxen Sodium Treats Arthritis Pain
Naproxen sodium works by inhibiting activities of the COX enzymes that trigger synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins. Compared to pure naproxen, the sodium salt of naproxen is more rapidly absorbed, thereby providing faster relief from arthritis pain and inflammation.
Naproxen Sodium Dosage
For managing osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pain, 275 mg or 550 mg naproxen sodium tablet can be taken once or twice a day. For long-term pain management, lower doses of the drug are preferred by doctors. Occasionally, naproxen sodium is used more than twice a day. The maximum tolerable dose of the drug is 1650 mg per day. The maximum dose should be taken only under medical supervision for a limited period. Higher dosage or treatment for longer duration is recommended only when the benefits of using the NSAID outweigh its risks.
For treating juvenile arthritis, the dosage of the drug is determined according to the body weight of the patient. The optimum daily dosage of naproxen sodium for children is 10mg/kg. It is divided into two equal halves, taken twice a day. To ensure that the child receives the appropriate dose, naproxen sodium oral suspension is preferred for treatment. Gouty arthritis is usually treated with an initial dose of 825 mg. The dose is then reduced to 275 mg, taken thrice a day.
Side Effects of Naproxen Sodium
Common side effects of naproxen sodium include abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, dyspepsia, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, skin rash, ringing in the ear, visual disturbance, edema and rapid heartbeat. By thinning the blood, naproxen sodium increases the risk of excess bleeding. Prolonged use of the drug may cause ulceration of the stomach and intestine and intestinal bleeding. Allergic reactions, congestive heart failure and impaired kidney function are rare adverse effects of the drug.
Interactions With Drugs
By reducing lithium excretion in people on lithium drugs, naproxen sodium may boost the level of lithium in the blood to toxic levels. It may reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure reducing medications. It may aggravate the risk of bleeding when used with blood thinning drugs. When used with methotrexate, an anti-arthritic drug, naproxen sodium increases the plasma level of the drug by inhibiting its excretion. Likewise, it can even impair elimination of aminoglycoside drugs, thereby making people on these medications vulnerable to side effects of drug overdose.