Naproxen vs. Naproxen Sodium

What's the Difference?

Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) commonly used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lower fever. The main difference between the two lies in their chemical composition. Naproxen is the active ingredient, while Naproxen Sodium is a salt form of Naproxen. Due to this difference, Naproxen Sodium is more readily absorbed by the body, leading to faster pain relief. However, both medications have similar efficacy and side effects, including stomach upset, dizziness, and increased risk of cardiovascular events. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before using either medication to ensure proper dosage and to consider any potential interactions with other medications.


AttributeNaproxenNaproxen Sodium
Chemical FormulaC14H14O3C14H13NaO3
Drug ClassNonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID)Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID)
UsesTreats pain, inflammation, and feverTreats pain, inflammation, and fever
Brand NamesAleve, NaprosynAnaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn
AvailabilityOver-the-counter and prescriptionPrescription-only
Dosage FormsTablets, capsules, suspensionTablets, extended-release tablets
Strengths250mg, 375mg, 500mg220mg, 275mg, 550mg
Half-life12-17 hours12-17 hours
Side EffectsStomach upset, heartburn, dizzinessStomach upset, heartburn, dizziness

Further Detail


Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) commonly used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lower fever. While they share similarities in terms of their chemical structure and therapeutic effects, there are some key differences between the two medications. This article aims to compare the attributes of Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium, shedding light on their similarities and distinctions.

Chemical Composition

Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium have the same active ingredient, which is naproxen. However, the key difference lies in the salt form used in their formulations. Naproxen is the base form of the drug, while Naproxen Sodium is the salt form. Naproxen Sodium is created by combining naproxen with sodium, resulting in a compound that is more readily absorbed by the body.

Due to the difference in salt form, Naproxen Sodium is often available in higher strengths compared to Naproxen. This allows for more flexibility in dosing and may be beneficial for individuals requiring higher doses to manage their symptoms effectively.

Indications and Uses

Both Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium are indicated for the relief of mild to moderate pain, such as headaches, menstrual cramps, dental pain, and musculoskeletal conditions. They are also commonly used to reduce inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis.

Moreover, Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium can be used to reduce fever, making them suitable for managing febrile conditions. However, it is important to note that these medications are not recommended for long-term use or as a substitute for proper medical treatment.


When it comes to pharmacokinetics, Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium exhibit similar characteristics. Both medications are rapidly absorbed after oral administration, with peak plasma concentrations reached within 2-4 hours. They are extensively bound to plasma proteins and have a relatively long half-life, allowing for less frequent dosing compared to some other NSAIDs.

Both Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium undergo hepatic metabolism and are primarily eliminated through renal excretion. It is worth mentioning that individuals with impaired renal function may require dosage adjustments or should avoid these medications altogether due to the risk of accumulation and potential adverse effects.

Side Effects

As with any medication, Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium can cause side effects. Common side effects include gastrointestinal disturbances such as stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea. These medications can also increase the risk of gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, particularly in individuals with a history of such conditions.

Other potential side effects include dizziness, headache, drowsiness, fluid retention, and elevated blood pressure. In rare cases, severe allergic reactions may occur, characterized by symptoms like rash, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If any concerning side effects are experienced, it is important to seek medical attention promptly.

Drug Interactions

Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium can interact with various medications, potentially altering their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects. It is crucial to inform healthcare providers about all medications, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, being taken concurrently.

These medications may interact with anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), diuretics, and certain blood pressure medications. Additionally, combining Naproxen or Naproxen Sodium with other NSAIDs should be avoided to prevent an increased risk of adverse effects.


In conclusion, Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium are closely related medications with similar therapeutic effects. While they share the same active ingredient, the key difference lies in their salt form, with Naproxen Sodium being more readily absorbed by the body. Both medications are effective in relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and lowering fever, but Naproxen Sodium may offer more flexibility in dosing due to its higher available strengths.

It is important to note that both Naproxen and Naproxen Sodium can cause side effects, particularly gastrointestinal disturbances, and may interact with other medications. Therefore, it is crucial to use these medications under the guidance of a healthcare professional and to follow the recommended dosage and duration of use.

If you are considering using Naproxen or Naproxen Sodium for pain relief or any other purpose, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider who can assess your individual needs and provide appropriate guidance.

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