Is Naproxen a Muscle Relaxer?
Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing the hormones causing pain and inflammation in the body. It works by preventing the effect of chemicals in your body called cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. The enzymes are useful in making other chemicals in the body, known as prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are produced at sites of damage or injury and result in inflammation and pain. By preventing the effect of COX enzymes, naproxen allows fewer prostaglandins to be produced, which means no pain and inflammation.
While naproxen is a pain reliever that can help reduce muscle spasms, it does not possess any direct muscle relaxant properties, which means it does not belong to the category of muscle relaxers. The drug is used for treating inflammation and pain caused by conditions such as ankylosing, arthritis, spondylitis, bursitis, tendinitis, gout or menstrual cramps. It is available as the brand-name drugs Naprelan, Naprosyn, Anaprox, and Mediproxen.
Although naproxen is used for relieving pain, it may cause some problems to certain individuals in certain conditions. Therefore, extra care is required when taking the medicine. Before you consume your first dose, make sure that your doctor is aware if you have any other allergic disorder, high blood pressure, a heart condition or ever experienced blood clotting problems. Also, inform your doctor if you are expecting or breastfeeding.
The common side effects of naproxen include diarrhea, gas, heartburn, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation and stomach pain. Other than these, you might also experience some serious side effects, upon which you need to contact your doctor immediately. The serious side effects are shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, chest pain, swelling of the throat or face, high blood pressure, problem in speaking, asthma attacks, yellowing of skin or whites of the eyes, swelling of any part of the body, unusual weight gain, and skin rash or blisters.
Moreover, naproxen intake can also cause an ulcer in the intestines and stomach. The symptoms for this are stomach pain, vomiting blood, blood in your stool, and sticky black stool. Weakness, fatigue, and lethargy after taking the drug can also be a sign of lower count of red blood cells.
Naproxen is reported to cause an asthma attack. If your asthma triggers by aspirins or other NSAIDs, naproxen is not for you. People with a history of stomach or intestinal bleeding or ulcer should avoid the drug. It can also cause damage to the kidney if used for a very long time. Patients who have high blood pressure problems are advised not to take naproxen because it can worsen the condition and make your high blood pressure medications not work. The drug can also result in severe allergic reactions. If you notice hives, swelling of your tongue or throat, or trouble in breathing, do not take the medicine again as it could be fatal.
Naproxen comes in category C pregnancy drugs. According to the research conducted in animals, the drug can have adverse effects on the fetus when the expectant mother takes it. However, there are not adequate studies done in humans to ensure if the drug is safe. Therefore, it is suggested to stop the intake of naproxen during the third trimester of pregnancy as it may be harmful to the unborn baby. The drug can also be passed through breast milk and can cause side effects in a breastfeeding child, so it is recommended not to breastfeed while taking this medication.
Be cautious when taking naproxen if you are older than sixty-five years as your body may process the drug slower. Your doctor is more likely to start you on a lowered dose so that the medication does not build up in your body.
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