Aleve (a brand name for Naproxen sodium) is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that is usually taken by the patients who are suffering from fever, pain and swelling, tenderness and other arthritis related symptoms. Approved by FDA for over-the-counter sales, Aleve caplets or tablets are easily available in stores across the globe. The chemical or generic name for Aleve is Naproxen sodium.

How does Aleve act?

Aleve works by blocking some specific hormones collectively known as prostaglandins that are responsible for causing inflammation related symptoms such as redness, pain, tenderness and swelling.

What is Aleve used for (indications)?

Aleve is commonly prescribed or used for:

  • Symptomatic relief in various forms of arthritis.
  • Prompt pain relief in conditions such as gout or menstrual cramps.
  • The pain relief in the common cold and also has the ability to reduce fever temporarily.

Are there any drawbacks or limitations?

  • Aleve is a symptomatic treatment i.e. only treats the cause and not the origin / real cause of the problem.
  • Aleve only provides short term or temporary relief. Although, once daily dosage is considered enough as it has a lasting effect for a maximum of twelve hours, you will need to take another dosage as soon as the symptoms return.

In what kind of people, this drug should not be used (contraindications)?

If you have had allergic reactions to Naproxen or anti inflammatory drugs in the past, it is best not to use Aleve as it will most likely ignite the similar reaction. Similarly, for the patients with a history of blood pressure, and especially if they are already taking blood pressure medications, it is best to consult a doctor before using Aleve. Likewise, smokers and alcoholics are also at a higher risk of developing these problems. Finally, if one is undergoing heart or bypass surgery of any sort, he or she must avoid Aleve because of the risk of bleeding complications.

Is Aleve safe during pregnancy?

It is a common practice for pregnant women to take Aleve in their first two trimesters for the symptomatic relief of headaches or back pain. However, they must refrain from taking Aleve in the third trimester as it could be dangerous for them or the baby. It has been reported that Aleve taken in the last 3 months of a pregnancy might also cause some birth defects.

Are there any side effects (safety profile)?

The side effects and risks for taking Aleve are the same as of any Naproxen drug. It can cause heart problems and blood circulation problems which can lead to stroke or even a heart attack. Usage of Aleve can also lead to perforation in the intestines and the stomach or cause severe bleeding in the same body parts. There is a high risk of that happening in older patients.

People are also known to have allergic reactions to Aleve and the symptoms of which often include facial swelling, asthma attack or shock.

Things you should discuss with your doctor before taking Aleve

You must not forget that overdosing Aleve might put one’s life at risk and one should immediately contact a doctor or the poison control centre. Over dosage may also lead to severe stomach pain, bleeding or incredible dizziness. If you already have any of such symptoms for some other reason, you must definitely let your doctor know before using Aleve.

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