Aleve – Naproxen

Aleve – Naproxen for migraine prevention : an introduction

Naproxen and other medications in the NSAID class of pain relievers are sometimes used to prevent migraines. The popular drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are most often used by migraine sufferers who have mild or moderate migraine headaches.

Aleve – Naproxen is often recommended for women who suffer from menstrual migraines. For those with migraine headaches during the menstrual cycle, Naproxen can be taken monthly for a time span beginning several days before menstruation begins and ending after the first couple of days of the period.

Because it associated with somewhat fewer side effects and is one of the most effective in its class at attacking migraines, Naproxen is the NSAID used most often to prevent migraine headaches. Naproxen is also taken as an abortive treatment for migraines, meaning it is used for immediate relief of current migraine headache symptoms.

Naproxen is available by prescription, over-the-counter and as a less-expensive generic.


Naproxen is sold under the brand names:

  • Aleve
  • Anaprox
  • Anaprox DS
  • EC-Naprosyn
  • Naprosyn
  • Neprelan

Naproxen and Migraines

Naproxen, just like other migraine prophylactic treatment, may take two or three months before it actually begins to reduce the number of attacks. Patients who respond to this treatment typically take it for six months. The medicine dosage is then gradually reduced.
Because Naproxen acts quickly, it is also occasionally used to treat migraine aura which typically doesn’t last long.

Effectiveness of Aleve – Naproxen in fighting migraines

Studies have shown that Naproxen helps lessen the migraine headache pain and also shorten the length of the discomfort. Naproxen also attacks the migraine symptoms, sensitivity to light, nausea and lightheadedness in some patients. Certain research shows that although some patients get relief from nausea and vomiting, others using NSAIDs may find that these symptoms get worse because of the side effects NSAIDs cause in the stomach, including ulcers, indigestion, inflammation of the stomach called gastritis and bleeding in the stomach.

One study of Naproxen compared the drug to an inactive placebo pill. Half of those who received Naproxen had no severe migraine headaches, compared to one-fifth of those on the placebo sugar pill. The group on Naproxen also found that the duration, severity of the migraine headache was reduced as well as the frequency of nausea and vomiting. The Naproxen portion also found they used other pain relievers less often.

How NSAIDs work

NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory drugs and therefore reduce swelling by blocking enzymes and proteins th body makes.

Different forms /formulations of Naproxen

Migraine sufferers sometimes need the option of having medications in different formulations because of the symptoms of nausea and vomiting, which can make it difficult to swallow and digest medications.

Naproxen is available in the following forms

  • Tablet
  • Delayed-release tablet
  • Liquid (suspension)

Side effects of Naproxen

  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Burning or tingling in arms or legs
  • Cold symptoms
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and other hearing problems
  • Gas
  • Mouth sores
  • Excessive thirst
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems sleeping

Serious side effects of Naproxen

If you experience these side effects, seek immediate medical attention and stop taking Naproxen until after you have consulted with your doctor.

  • Vision changes
  • Feeling like the tablet is stuck in your throat
  • Rash
  • Blisters
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Sore throat, fever, chills and other symptoms of infection
  • Hoarseness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain the upper right stomach area
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite, anorexia
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Bruises or purple blotches under the skin
  • Pale skin
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Cloudy, discolored, bloody urine or difficulty or pain during urination
  • Back pain
  • Reddening of the skin
  • Edema, swelling of the eyes, face, lips tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
  • Problems breathing or swallowing

Naproxen may cause a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. The increased risk may be higher in those who take Naproxen for an extended period of time. All NSAIDs are considered to have similar risks of heart-related and ulcer-causing side effects. However, some doctors and researchers believe Naproxen may have a lower risk of heart attack or stroke than others in the class.

Who should not take Aleve – Naproxen

Don’t take Aleve – Naproxen if you’re also taking Aspirin. Also, avoid Naproxen if you have had an asthma attack, hives or other allergic reaction to Naproxen, Aspirin or any other NSAID. Naproxen and other NSAIDs should not be taken for pain immediately before or after heart bypass surgery.



As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These medication descriptions are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication regimen without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.

Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
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