What Is Naproxen Gel?

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  • Written By: Kristeen Moore
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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Naproxen gel is the topical form of a type of oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This medication is used to relieve pain associated with injuries, arthritis, and menstrual cramps, along with other health conditions that are marked with discomfort. Naproxen gel is generally safe when used as directed, but patients should check with their doctors before use to ensure that the medicine will not interact with other types of drugs. Certain side effects warrant the discontinued use of the gel.

type of NSAID works by decreasing hormones in the body that are directly related to inflammation, which is a common cause of pain. Naproxen is traditionally an oral medication taken by mouth to relieve inflammation, some of which are sold in stores. The gel form is preferable for patients who have pain in one small area of the body, as in an athletic injury. Aside from common aches and injuries, naproxen gel is also used for some patients with bursitis, gout, and tendinitis.


Naproxen gel is generally obtained with a doctor’s prescription, and is often used for several days until pain decreases. At the same time, this medication is not intended for use prolonged use, such as every day for weeks at a time. If pain does not improve, patients usually have to obtain a different ongoing treatment plan. Taking too much naproxen can increase the chances of side effects, but the gel version tends to pose less of a risk than the oral version of the medication. Topical naproxen usually contains up to 10% of the medication, which is generally less than that found in the tablet form.

NSAIDs like naproxen are classified as pain relief medications, some of which might be obtained over-the-counter. No matter how naproxen gel is purchased, there are potential life-threatening side effects associated with this medication, including heart attack and stroke. Patients should immediately discontinue using the product if their pain worsens, or if they experience chest pain, breathing difficulties, and fainting. Pain relief medications can also cause non-life threatening side effects, including gastrointestinal ailments, skin rash, and headaches.

This medication is not intended to be used in conjunction with other similar pain medications, because this can potentially cause dangerous drug interactions. Over-the-counter medications can contain naproxen or even have properties that mimic NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen. Blood thinners, steroids, and diuretics all have the potential to interact with naproxen gel, so it may be best to avoid taking such medications at the same time. Naproxen is usually not recommended for the use in pregnant women.


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Post 4

I've previously purchased naproxen gel in Mexico. It appears to be available from individual sellers online as well. The brand name is Flanax Gel made by Bayer. I have no idea why topical naproxen is not sold in the USA.

Post 3

Has anyone seen naproxen gel ointment at the pharmacy? I've only found the tablet and gel capsule naproxen.

Post 2

@alisha-- Naproxen gel doesn't cause any gastro-intestinal issues with me and I have a very sensitive stomach. I think you should switch to the gel. It will also be easier to use since you have tendon pain. You can apply it directly on the parts that hurt.

When I have muscle and joint pain, I always prefer topical treatments over others. I think they work faster and are not hard on the stomach.

Naproxen is still absorbed through the skin and enters the bloodstream though, so follow the directions about dosage, don't overdose.

Post 1

My doctor told me to take naproxen tablets for my tendinitis. I have been taking it and it does relieve my pain, but it's also giving me an upset stomach and a lot of acidity.

Is naproxen gel easier on the stomach since it's absorbed through the skin? I want to switch to it if it has less side effects.

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