Ibuprofen vs Naproxen for Pain Comparison of Side Effects Interactions

Ibuprofen vs. Naproxen: Choosing Pain Relief

Ibuprofen and naproxen are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to manage pain, fever, and inflammation. Other NSAIDs in this class include indomethacin, nabumetone, and others.

  • These drugs reduce mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation by lowering prostaglandin levels, chemicals responsible for these symptoms.
  • Naproxen and ibuprofen block the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which produces prostaglandins. As a result, inflammation, pain, and fever decrease.

Uses of Ibuprofen vs. Naproxen

Ibuprofen: An Effective Treatment

Ibuprofen effectively treats various conditions causing mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever, including:

  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Naproxen: Relief for Pain, Inflammation, and Fever

Naproxen is used to treat:

  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Inflammation
  • Fever

Side Effects of Ibuprofen vs. Naproxen

Side Effects of Ibuprofen

Common side effects of ibuprofen may include:

NSAIDs reduce blood clotting ability, increasing bleeding risks after injury.

Ulceration of the stomach or intestine may occur, potentially leading to black stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing.

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NSAIDs can decrease blood flow to the kidneys and impair their function, particularly in patients with existing kidney issues or heart failure.

People allergic to other NSAIDs, including aspirin, should avoid ibuprofen.

Other serious side effects include fluid retention, blood clots, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

Using NSAIDs (except low-dose aspirin) may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and related conditions, especially in patients with heart disease or risk factors for it.

Naproxen Side Effects

The most common side effects of naproxen may include:

  • Rash
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain, nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Fluid retention
  • Shortness of breath

Other important side effects include fluid retention, blood clots, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

Dosage Instructions for Ibuprofen vs. Naproxen

Ibuprofen Dosage

  • For minor aches, mild to moderate pain, menstrual cramps, and fever, take 200 or 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
  • Arthritis requires 300 to 800 mg, 3 or 4 times daily.
  • Under a physician’s care, the maximum dose is 3.2 g daily. Otherwise, the maximum is 1.2 g daily.
  • Do not exceed 10 days for pain or 3 days for fever, unless directed by a physician.
  • Children (6 months to 12 years) usually receive 5-10 mg/kg every 6-8 hours. The maximum daily dose is 40 mg/kg.
  • Juvenile arthritis is treated with 20 to 40 mg/kg/day, divided into 3-4 doses.
  • Take ibuprofen with meals to prevent upset stomach.

Naproxen Dosage

  • Take naproxen with food to reduce stomach discomfort.
  • For pain, take 250 mg every 6 to 8 hours or 500 mg twice daily (regular tablets).
  • Naprelan controlled release tablets require a daily dose of 750 to 1000 mg.
  • EC-Naprosyn dosage is 375-500 mg twice daily.
  • For rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis, take 500 to 1000 mg every 12 hours.
  • For menstrual cramps, take 250 mg every 6 to 8 hours after an initial dose of 500 mg.
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Drug and Alcohol Interactions of Ibuprofen vs. Naproxen

Ibuprofen Interactions

  • Ibuprofen may interact with other drugs, affecting their actions. These effects include:
  • Elevated blood levels of lithium, leading to toxicity.
  • Reduced blood pressure-lowering effects of antihypertensives.
  • Increased blood levels of methotrexate or aminoglycosides, potentially causing more side effects.
  • Enhanced negative effect of cyclosporine on kidney function.
  • Avoid ibuprofen if taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants like warfarin.
  • Increased risk of developing an ulcer when combining ibuprofen with aspirin.
  • Greater risk of stomach ulcers in individuals consuming more than three alcoholic beverages daily.
  • Combining NSAIDs with SSRIs may raise the chance of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

Naproxen Interactions

  • Naproxen may interact with other drugs, affecting their actions. The most common interactions include:
  • Elevated blood levels of lithium, leading to toxicity.
  • Reduced blood pressure-lowering effects of antihypertensives.
  • Increased blood levels of methotrexate or aminoglycosides, potentially causing more side effects.
  • Enhanced negative effect of cyclosporine on kidney function.
  • Avoid naproxen if taking anticoagulants like warfarin.
  • Increased risk of developing an ulcer when combining naproxen with aspirin.
  • Greater risk of stomach ulcers in individuals consuming more than three alcoholic beverages daily.

Safety of Ibuprofen and Naproxen During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

Ibuprofen Safety

  • No adequate studies on ibuprofen in pregnant women. Not recommended during pregnancy, especially late stages due to potential fetal heart issues.
  • Ibuprofen excreted in breast milk, but considered compatible with breastfeeding by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Naproxen Safety

  • NSAIDs may cause a birth defect called ductus arteriosus in the third trimester of pregnancy. Avoid NSAIDs at this stage.
  • A small amount of naproxen is excreted in breast milk; however, the concentration is low, and breastfeeding while taking naproxen is likely safe for the infant.
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Summary

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox) effectively relieve mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Both belong to the NSAID class and carry serious side effects that increase the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

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