Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory drug used to temporarily reduce swelling and alleviate pain arising from various causes. While many people experience no noticeable side effects when taking naproxen, some individuals have uncomfortable or even dangerous reactions to the drug. Some side effects of naproxen, such as digestive upset, fatigue, and head pain, can be unpleasant, but may be less uncomfortable than the condition for which the drug is being taken. Conversely, certain symptoms may signal one of serious potential naproxen side effects, such as bleeding of the stomach, blood clots, liver failure, or anaphylaxis. Those experiencing symptoms of such side effects should seek immediate medical attention.
Should they occur, the side effects of naproxen are usually fairly minor. After taking the drug, some individuals experience mild fatigue and headaches. Others experience one or more digestive issues, including nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. While such side effects can be unpleasant, they are often considered less uncomfortable than the pain or swelling for which naproxen is being taken. Some find that taking the drug with food can reduce the occurrence of minor side effects.
Conversely, some side effects of naproxen can indicate that a very serious reaction to the drug is taking place. In very rare cases, for instance, those taking naproxen may experience unusual digestive symptoms such as intense abdominal pain, black, grainy vomit, and very dark stools. These symptoms may indicate that naproxen is causing the stomach to bleed.
Very rarely, taking naproxen may lead to blood clots, which in turn can cause a heart attack or stroke. Those experiencing weakness confined to one side of the body or chest pain while taking naproxen may be suffering from a blood clot or another cardiovascular side effect. Such side effects most often occur in those with pre-existing cardiovascular issues.
Also among the serious potential side effects of naproxen is liver failure. One of the most common symptoms of this condition is yellowness of the whites of the eyes and the skin. Liver failure is also sometimes signaled by stomach pain, very dark urine, and chronic tiredness.
Another possible side effect of naproxen is anaphylaxis, or a severe allergic reaction which can lead to organ failure and death if left untreated. Classic symptoms of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, the emergence of hives on the skin, extreme itchiness, and swelling of the tongue and face. Those experiencing symptoms which may indicate serious naproxen side effects should seek medical attention immediately.