Are naproxen and aleve the same?

What is Naproxen and Aleve?

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), mainly used to relieve pain and inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, spondylitis, tendinitis, gout, menstrual cramps, and other general body aches. It works by reducing the hormones that cause inflammation or pain in the body. It is typically available in prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) forms.

Aleve is the brand name of Naproxen in the US, and it is also an over-the-counter medication used to treat mild to moderate pain, such as headaches, toothaches, cramps, and muscle aches. It contains naproxen sodium as its active ingredient, which is the same as naproxen but with a different formulation. Like naproxen, it is an NSAID and available without a prescription.

Are Naproxen and Aleve the Same Thing?

Naproxen and Aleve are not the same thing, but both contain the same active ingredient, naproxen sodium. The difference between them lies in their dosage form and brand name. Naproxen is available in prescription forms, while Aleve is a brand name of Naproxen available in OTC forms. Naproxen is available as tablets, capsules, and oral suspension, whereas Aleve comes as caplets and liquid gels.

What are the Differences Between Naproxen and Aleve?

Apart from their dosage forms and brand names, there are other differences between naproxen and Aleve:

  • Price: Since naproxen is available in generic form, it is usually cheaper than Aleve
  • Dose: Naproxen is usually prescribed at different dosages depending on the condition being treated, while Aleve comes in a standard dose of 220mg
  • Packaging: Naproxen is usually packaged in bottles, while Aleve is commonly found with blister packaging

Can you use Naproxen and Aleve interchangeably?

Since Naproxen and Aleve contain the same active ingredient, they are interchangeable, but only under specific conditions. If you are under a doctor’s care or advice, it is recommended you stick to your doctor’s instructions on which medication to use. Also, since they are both NSAIDs, using them interchangeably may increase the risk of side effects, such as stomach bleeding, since they both have a similar mechanism of action. It’s, therefore, advisable to talk to a healthcare professional to obtain personalized advice on whether you should interchangeably use Naproxen and Aleve.

What are the Side Effects of Naproxen and Aleve?

Like most medications, Naproxen and Aleve come with a set of side effects. Some of the side effects can be serious and require medical attention. The most common side effects of Naproxen and Aleve include:

  • Upset stomach or abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headache and drowsiness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Rash or itching

If you experience any of these side effects, it’s best to contact your doctor immediately. Additionally, seek medical attention immediately if you encounter more serious side effects such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, hives, or swelling of the throat or tongue.

What is the Recommended Dosage of Naproxen and Aleve?

Naproxen dosage depends on the condition being treated, age, and other clinical factors. The recommended dosage of Naproxen for adults aged 18-65 years for the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis is 250mg to 500mg twice daily. The maximum recommended dosage of Naproxen for adults is 1000mg per day but patients should never take more than 500mg at once.

For pain or fever, the recommended dose of Aleve for adults is one 220mg tablet followed by one 220mg tablet every 8-12 hours as needed. The maximum daily dose of Aleve should not exceed two tablets in any 8-12 hour period and should not exceed three tablets in 24 hours.

Can you take Naproxen and Aleve Together?

Taking Naproxen and Aleve together is not recommended as they both contain the same active ingredient. Combining them could increase the risk of side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, stomach bleeding, and other stomach-related problems. It’s, therefore, necessary to consult with a healthcare professional before using both drugs concurrently.

When is it Advisable to Avoid Using Naproxen and Aleve?

There are instances where using Naproxen and Aleve is not advised, and they include:

  • If you have a known allergy to Naproxen or Aleve.
  • If you have experienced asthma, hives or other allergic reactions to aspirin, ibuprofen or other NSAIDs.
  • If you are in the last three months of pregnancy.
  • If you are undergoing a surgical operation.
  • If you have a history of stomach problems such as bleeding or ulcers.


Naproxen and Aleve are a good option for pain relief, but it’s essential to understand their individual uses and potential side effects. Even though they contain the same active ingredients, they come in slightly different forms, dosage, and packaging. While it is possible to use Naproxen and Aleve interchangeably, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to obtain personalized advice. There are also instances when it’s entirely necessary to avoid using these medications: for instance, if you have a known allergy or are in your last trimester of pregnancy.

Questions and Answers

Below are some commonly asked questions about Naproxen and Aleve:

  • Q: Can you take Naproxen daily for pain?
  • A: If it is prescribed by a doctor, yes, Naproxen can be taken daily for pain. However, if it is taken OTC, it is recommended to limit the use to no more than ten days for pain relief due to the risk of gastrointestinal complications.
  • Q: How long does it take for Naproxen to relieve pain?
  • A: Naproxen should start to work within an hour of taking it, although the full effects may not be felt for up to two weeks, especially for some conditions like arthritis.
  • Q: Can you drink alcohol while taking Naproxen or Aleve?
  • A: Drinking alcohol while taking Naproxen or Aleve is not recommended since it may increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and adverse effects on the liver.
  • Q: Can you drive after taking naproxen?
  • A: You can drive after taking Naproxen since it does not typically cause side effects that affect driving or other activities that require alertness.
  • Q: How long does Aleve stay in your system?
  • A: Aleve’s effects last for about 8-12 hours, and it takes approximately 22-26 hours for it to be removed from the system.


1. Aleve [Internet]. Naproxen tablets. Available at
2. Naproxen [Internet]. MedlinePlus. Available at