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Naproxen oral forms dosage: A detailed guide

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Forms and strengthsDosageFAQsHow it’s takenCouponOverdoseAsk your doctorBoxed warnings
Naproxen oral forms are prescribed for pain and swelling related to certain conditions. They’re approved for use in adults and certain children. The form of the drug and the condition being treated may affect how often you take it.
Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD
Updated on April 5, 2023

Naproxen oral forms are generic versions of the brand-name drugs Anaprox DS, Naprelan, and Naprosyn. Naproxen is also available in over-the-counter (OTC) and other prescription forms. But those forms aren’t described in this article. To learn more about those forms, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

This article describes naproxen oral forms’ dosages, their strengths, and details on how to take them. You’ll also find information on cost savings and coupon options for naproxen.

If you want to know more about naproxen oral forms, see this overview article. It covers details about the drug’s uses, side effects, and more.

Boxed warnings

This drug has boxed warnings about the risk of serious heart-related events and serious digestive problems. Boxed warnings are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

See the end of this article for more information about this warning.

Forms and strengths of naproxen

Naproxen oral forms are available as naproxen and as naproxen sodium. With naproxen sodium, the drug is absorbed into the body more rapidly than with naproxen.

All naproxen oral forms are swallowed. The forms and strengths are:

  • naproxen immediate-release tablet in 250 milligrams (mg), 375 mg, and 500 mg
  • naproxen sodium immediate-release tablet in 275 mg and 550 mg
  • naproxen delayed-release tablet in 375 mg and 500 mg
  • naproxen sodium extended-release tablet in 375 mg, 500 mg, and 750 mg
  • naproxen suspension in 125 mg per 5 milliliters (mL)

Immediate-release tablets release the drug into the body right away. Delayed-release tablets release the drug into the body after a period of time. Extended-release tablets release the drug into the body slowly over a period of time. The suspension is an immediate-release liquid form.

Dosage of naproxen

This article describes the recommended dosages* for naproxen oral forms.

If your doctor prescribes this medication, you should take the dosage they prescribe. Your doctor will determine the dosage that best meets your needs. Do not change your dosage of naproxen oral forms without your doctor’s recommendation.

* The drugmaker provides these recommended dosages.

Usual recommended dosages of naproxen in adults

Usually, doctors prescribe the recommended starting dosage of naproxen oral forms. Then, they’ll adjust it over time, if needed, until the right dosage is reached. Ultimately, they’ll prescribe the smallest dosage for the shortest time that gives the desired outcome.

The maximum dosage of naproxen oral forms is 1,500 milligrams (mg) daily for a limited time. For example, your doctor might recommend that you take it for up to 6 months. But for certain conditions, a maximum dosage lower than 1,500 mg daily is recommended. Talk with your doctor about the recommended maximum dosage of naproxen for your condition.

Doctors prescribe naproxen oral forms to relieve pain and swelling caused by specific conditions. (They may refer to swelling as inflammation, which results from damage to tissues in the body.) These conditions are:

The following tables describe the recommended dosages.

To relieve pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis

Dosages are in mg, as well as in milliliters (mL) for the liquid suspension.

FormRecommended doseFrequency
naproxen immediate-release tablet• 250 mg to 500 mgtwice per day
naproxen sodium immediate-release tablet• 275 mg, or
• 550 mg
twice per day
naproxen delayed-release tablet• 375 mg, or
• 500 mg
twice per day
naproxen sodium extended-release tablet• 750 mg, or
• 1,000 mg
once per day
naproxen suspension• 250 mg, which equals 10 mL, or
• 375 mg, which equals 15 mL, or
• 500 mg, which equals 20 mL
twice per day

To relieve pain and swelling caused by tendinitis, bursitis, and menstrual pain

Dosages are in mg, as well as in mL for the liquid suspension.

FormStarting dosageMaintenance dosageMaximum dosage
naproxen immediate-release tablet500 mg• 500 mg every 12 hours, or
• 250 mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed
1,250 mg per day
naproxen sodium immediate-release tablet550-mg one-time initial dose• 275 mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed, or
• 550 mg every 12 hours as needed
• initial maximum dosage:
1,375 mg per day
• maximum dosage during remainder of treatment: 1,100 mg per day
naproxen sodium extended-release tablet1,000 mg once per dayIf needed, temporarily increase to 1,500 mg once per day.1,000 mg per day
naproxen suspension500 mg, which equals 20 mL, every 6 to 8 hours as needed250 mg, which equals 10 mL, every 6 to 8 hours as needed1,250 mg per day

To relieve pain and swelling caused by gout

Dosages are in mg, as well as in mL for the liquid suspension.

FormStarting dosageMaintenance dosage
naproxen immediate-release tablet750-mg one-time initial dose250 mg every 8 hours until the episode subsides
naproxen sodium immediate-release tablet825-mg one-time initial dose275 mg every 8 hours until the episode subsides
naproxen sodium extended-release tablet1,000-mg to 1500-mg one-time initial dose1,000 mg once per day until the episode subsides
naproxen suspension  750-mg one-time initial dose, which is 30 mL250 mg, which equals 10 mL, every 8 hours until the episode subsides

Dosages of naproxen in children

Doctors prescribe naproxen oral forms for children ages 2 to 17 years to relieve pain and swelling caused by a specific condition. (They may refer to swelling as inflammation, which results from damage to tissues in the body.) This condition is polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

For this purpose, children typically take the oral suspension (liquid) form of naproxen. If you’re interested in another oral form, talk with your child’s doctor about the right dosage for your child.

Your child’s doctor will use your child’s weight to calculate their dosage of naproxen. For reference, 1 kilogram (kg) is about 2.2 pounds (lb).

FormRecommended dosageExample dosages
naproxen suspension10 mg per kg of body weight, divided into 2 doses per day• For a child weighing 13 kg (about 29 lb):
62.5 mg, which is 2.5 mL, twice per day
• For a child weighing 25 kg (about 55 lb):
125 mg, which is 5.0 mL, twice per day
• For a child weighing 38 kg (about 84 lb):
187.5 mg, which is 7.5 mL, twice per day

Dosage adjustments for naproxen

Your doctor will prescribe a dosage of naproxen oral forms based on several factors, including:

  • the specific condition being treated and how severe it is
  • your age
  • your child’s weight
  • other health conditions you or your child may have

Your doctor may prescribe a lower or higher starting dosage depending on these factors. For example, if you have kidney problems, your doctor may recommend a lower starting dosage of naproxen.

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Missed dose of naproxen

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist right away if you realize you forgot a dose of naproxen oral forms. They may advise you to take the missed dose. Or they may advise you to skip it and take your next dose as scheduled.

For tips on how to plan your doses of naproxen oral forms and avoid missing a dose, read this article. You could also try:

  • downloading a reminder app on your phone
  • setting an alarm
  • putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your calendar, bathroom mirror, or bedside table

Frequently asked questions

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about naproxen oral forms and their dosages.

How does the dose of the prescription forms of naproxen compare with the over-the-counter (OTC) form of the drug?

Prescription-strength naproxen treats pain and inflammation from certain conditions that OTC naproxen isn’t taken to treat. OTC naproxen helps relieve minor pain from a variety of conditions and temporarily reduces fever.

Prescription naproxen is available in higher strengths than OTC naproxen. The dosages and maximum dosages are also higher than those of OTC naproxen.

You can get OTC naproxen without a prescription. The OTC brand name for naproxen is Aleve. It comes in a strength of 220 mg for adults and children ages 12 years and older. The product’s Drug Facts provide the recommended dosage and drug information. Or your doctor or pharmacist can give you more information.

To learn more about how prescription and OTC naproxen oral forms compare, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Does naproxen have a recommended dose per day?

Yes, naproxen has a recommended dose per day. It depends on the condition it’s being taken to treat and the drug form. The drugmaker recommends dosages and maximum daily doses. But your doctor will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Naproxen has a boxed warning about the risk of serious heart-related events and serious digestive problems. So it’s important to follow the recommended prescribed dose per day.

To learn more, see the “Dosage of naproxen” section above. If you have questions or concerns about the dosages of naproxen, talk with your doctor.

Is naproxen taken long term?

No, doctors don’t typically prescribe naproxen oral forms as a long-term treatment. Instead, they’re usually recommended for short-term use until your symptoms go away. When using the maximum dosage, it’s recommended that naproxen not be taken for more than 6 months.

Naproxen has a boxed warning about the risk of serious heart-related events and serious digestive problems. This risk can increase the longer you take naproxen.

If you have questions about how long you should take naproxen oral forms, talk with your doctor.

How naproxen is taken

You’ll swallow naproxen oral forms, typically one or more times per day. How often you’ll take naproxen depends on the condition it’s being taken to treat and the dosage.

You can take naproxen oral forms with food or without it. But taking any of the forms with food may reduce the risk of stomach upset.

If you take the extended-release or delayed-release tablets, do not chew, break, or split them. Doing so can increase the risk of side effects. But you may chew, break, or split the immediate-release tablets if needed.

Your doctor may advise that you take this medication around the same time each day. This will help keep a consistent amount of the drug in your body. And that can help the drug work more effectively. If you take multiple daily doses, you may need to space them evenly throughout the day.

If it’s hard for you to swallow tablets, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to swallow medications that come in pill form. Naproxen also comes in a suspension form, which is a liquid. Talk with your doctor if you are interested in this form of the drug.

Also, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re having difficulty taking your medication. They can offer recommendations about taking it.

Naproxen coupon

Visit this page to access Optum Perks coupons and get price estimates for naproxen when you use the coupons. These coupons can provide significant savings on your prescription costs. 

Note: Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.

Overdose of naproxen

It’s important that you do not take more of naproxen oral forms than your doctor prescribes. Doing so can lead to serious side effects. 

Symptoms of naproxen overdose

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

What to do if you take too much naproxen

If you think you’ve taken too much naproxen, call your doctor or pharmacist right away. Or you could call 800-222-1222 to speak with someone at America’s Poison Centers. You can also use its online resource. If you have severe symptoms, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. You can also go to the closest emergency room.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes the usual recommended dosages for naproxen oral forms. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they’ll determine the dosage that’s best for you.

Do not change your dosage of naproxen oral forms without your doctor’s recommendation. You should take naproxen oral forms exactly as your doctor prescribes. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about your treatment plan.

Here’s a list of some possible questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Why do different forms of oral naproxen have different dosages?
  • Is one naproxen oral form better for me than another?
  • Does my risk of side effects increase with higher doses of naproxen oral forms?

Boxed warnings for naproxen

This drug has boxed warnings about the risk of serious heart-related events and serious digestive problems. Boxed warnings are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Risk of serious heart-related events. Naproxen increases the risk of serious heart-related problems such as heart attack and stroke. These problems can be life threatening. This risk may increase with long-term use of naproxen or with heart bypass surgery. You should not take naproxen before or after heart bypass surgery.

Risk of serious digestive problems. Naproxen increases the risk of serious digestive problems in your stomach and intestine. These problems can include bleeding and ulcers. They can occur at any time during treatment and may be life threatening. This risk increases if you’re more than 65 years old.

Your doctor can provide more information on these warnings.

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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