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How Naproxen Works

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Naproxen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is one of the most common over-the-counter purchases for anyone suffering from a headache or a swollen ankle. If you’re someone who is plagued by frequent migraines, you’ll be interested to know taking naproxen has actually been shown to lessen the severity of the pain. In fact, you’re less likely to have to take a second medication because the naproxen will work so well.

Mexico City-based pharmaceutical company, Syntex, first marketed naproxen under the name ‘Naprosyn’ in 1976, but that soon changed to ‘Anaprox’ in 1980. Naproxen, which is also referred to as its brand name Aleve, was approved as an over-the-counter medicine in 1994. Extremely similar to ibuprofen, the body reacts to naproxen by blocking hormone receptions that feel pain. So when you hurt your knee running and need to dull the ache in order to get through your busy day, taking a naproxen is an easy way to alleviate the throbbing.

One of the most common reasons women use naproxen is to remove the pain of monthly period cramps, or dysmenorrheal, which can be excruciating for some. “Your uterus is a muscle, and it squeezes really hard,” said associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University Susan Haas, MD. “Sometimes it can squeeze so hard it blocks the arteries coming into it. Just like a heart attack, when the arteries are blocked, it causes pain. “ By blocking the prostaglandins in your body that put out the chemicals that make you feel pain, naproxen stops any inflammation and eases the hurting. Not only does naproxen make pain subside, but also it makes the uterus stop contracting so much, which is what causes menstrual cramps in the first place. The best way to curb cramps is to take naproxen an hour before cramps hit, with a double dose. Take 800 milligrams at the beginning of your period, and then lower that dose to 600 milligrams toward the end to ward off pain the entire week.

Women who use naproxen for cramps say it not only helps to take them away, but the medication relieves nausea, back pain, and fatigue that can accompany your cycle. Many gynecologists recommend the medication for debilitating cramps, and users swear that it works. Naproxen works so well, in fact, that users rated 8.5 stars out of 10 in online reviews.

Naproxen doesn’t just help with migraines, cramps, swelling, and other aches and pains. Interestingly enough, researchers found in May 2013 that naproxen can be helpful in avoiding the flu.

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