The Efficacy of Naproxen on Headaches

The Efficacy of Naproxen on Headaches

Naproxen is a medication used for relieving pain. Naproxen can be used for the treatment of headaches, back pains, and muscle pain. Naproxen is the generic name of Aleve, and it belongs to the drug class Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). It can also be used to treat fever and menstrual discomfort in women.

As it is used to tackle pain, Naproxen is an effective medicine for headaches and migraine. Aleve can be used to treat headaches and give better results (Todd, P.A. and Clissold, S.P., 1990).

Effectiveness of Naproxen for Headache

infographic on the study of naproxen for headaches

A research was conducted by Simon Law et al. to study the effectiveness of Naproxen on people suffering from headaches and migraine. 6 studies from about 2700 participants were collected by assigning 275mg, 500mg, and 825 mg doses. The participants were given doses of Naproxen and a placebo.

It was observed that Naproxen was more effective in relieving headaches and migraine. People relived after taking Naproxen was more than people taking placebo. There were adverse effects with mild intensity observed when high doses were administered. Thus, Naproxen with lower doses can better effective results against headaches and migraines (Naproxen with or without an antiemetic for acute migraine headaches in adults).

How does Naproxen Work?

Naproxen affects the enzymes which produce prostaglandins- substances causing inflammation and pain. Aleve restricts the prostaglandin-producing enzymes and thus reduces the headache (Todd, P.A. and Clissold, S.P., 1990).

Forms and strengths of Naproxen

Aleve, also known as Naproxen, is an oral medication available in the form of tablets, gel caps, and caplets. The Aleve tablets and caplets are available in the strength of 220 mg (Todd, P.A. and Clissold, S.P., 1990).

How to Administer Naproxen?

Aleve should be taken as prescribed by the doctor only. Taking a higher dose to tackle headaches quickly should not be done as it will lead to severe side effects and create a threat to life.

The medicine can be taken with or without food. One can take it with milk or food to prevent stomach upset. One should not consume alcohol while taking Aleve. It may lead to stomach bleeding. Taking antacids along with Aleve can act as a barrier in the working of Aleve (Todd, P.A. and Clissold, S.P., 1990).

Dosage of Naproxen

Type Of Dosage

Dose Amount

Initial Dose

220-440 mg

Standard Dose

220 mg every 8-12 hours

Maximum Dose

440 mg every 8-12 hours OR

660 mg every 24 hours

Most of the time, Aleve doesn’t follow a specific schedule. But one should take the dose at the time prescribed by the doctor. One should not take a double dose to compromise the missed dose. Some people take a higher amount to get more effectiveness. But it will cause harm. 

If observed overdose, one should seek emergency medical help to prevent further risk. Difficulty in breathing, seizures, and stomach pain are some of the overdosage symptoms (Todd, P.A. and Clissold, S.P., 1990).

Who should not take Naproxen

One should not take Naproxen if:

  • Used MAO inhibitor in past 2 weeks
  • Allergic to Naproxen
  • Asthma attack
  • Below the age of 12
  • Blood pressure and other heart diseases
  • Stomach ulcers and bleeding issues
  • Kidney and liver disorders
  • Addicted to alcohol

It is advised for breastfeeding and pregnant women not to take Aleve as it can harm the woman and child both. It can be taken only if prescribed by the doctor.

Side effects of Naproxen

Following are the common side effects which one can experience after taking Aleve:

  • Heartburn
  • Swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Ringing in ears
  • Abdominal pain

There are some severe side effects associated too with the medication of Aleve, which require emergency medical help or even termination of drugs. Following are the severe side effects:

  • Anemia
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain or stroke symptoms
  • A quick change in weight
  • Skin rashes
  • Stomach bleeding


Naproxen is an effective medicine for headaches if taken in smaller dosages. Aleve can be taken for other pains too. Proper medical guidance should be taken before taking Aleve in order to prevent the risk of adverse effects.

Aleve (Naproxen) for Back and Muscle Pain?

Aleve (Naproxen) for Back and Muscle Pain?

Yes, Aleve is the medication that can temporarily cure Backaches, muscle aches, headaches, mild arthritis, and other joint pain. It can also aid menstruation discomfort, toothaches fever for a short time. Aleve is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that treats rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and fever.

How does Aleve work for Back and Muscle pain?

Naproxen sodium is a pain reliever that acts both at the site of the pain and in the central nervous system (CNS). It is known to function by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandins, which are responsible for inflammation and blocking the pain-causing substances.

Study: Aleve for back pain

A meta-analysis of six studies (500 patients) comparing naproxen sodium 550 mg against placebo found that naproxen sodium 550 mg had an RR of at least 50% pain reduction over 4 to 6 hours. The quality of the research included in this analysis was acceptable. Naproxen 200 mg and naproxen sodium 220 mg were shown to be beneficial in two minor trials for pain management. Compared to placebo, there was no significant difference in the number of patients who experienced an adverse event while on therapy. The weighted mean time to remediation for naproxen sodium 550 mg was 7.6 hours, whereas the placebo took 2.6 hours. Result: Orally given naproxen sodium 550 mg, naproxen sodium 400 mg, and naproxen sodium 440 mg are effective analgesics for treating acute postoperative pain in adults (Mason, L., Edwards, J. E., Moore, R. A., & McQuay, H. J. (2004).

How Long does It take Aleve to Work?

Aleve is the medication that primarily treats pain and inflammation-related issues. It activates and takes about 45 minutes to start working. It takes two to three hours to begin its full effect efficiently.

Dosage for back and muscle pain

Aleve comes in oral as well as capsule form. Aleve is available as a pill or a gel. OTC Aleve includes 220 mg naproxen and 20 mg sodium in each dosage. In accordance with the label should be taken as follows:

Side effects of Aleve

The side effects of taking Aleve can be common as well as adverse, which are as follows:

Side effects of Aleve

Common side effects:

  • Constipation,
  • Diarrhea and stomach discomfort
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting or nausea

Adverse side effects:

  • Severe stomach pains
  • Stools that are black and tarry.
  • Asthma
  • Rash on the skin 
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke


Aleve can cure back and muscle pain but temporarily. However, consult the doctor before consuming this medication in any case. Make sure to consult with the physician regarding your medical history, as this medication can lead to interactions. Do not consume this drug if suffering from any heart, kidney, or liver disease as it can be lethal; thus, use it with proper guidance.