Difference Between Naproxen and Ibuprofen

Naproxen and Ibuprofen are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Both the drugs are used as pain killers. The mechanism of action is reducing the production of prostaglandin, the substance which is mainly responsible for inflammatory response. There are many similarities and differences among the two drugs which will be discussed in this article.


Naproxen is used to treat pain and inflammation especially in conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, gout, menstrual cramps etc. Long term usage of Naproxen can cause heart and circulation problems. Due to life threatening effects Naproxen is not given to patients after bypass surgery. Naproxen usage is not advisable if a person has a history of heart attack, stomach ulcers, liver or kidney disease, asthma, bleeding disorders, nasal polyps or a history of smoking. Alcohol consumption should be stopped because it could increase stomach bleeding. Naproxen can cause serious damages to intestines and stomach forming holes in the lining which is fatal. Naproxen is available as pills and syrup. A slow releasing form is available for arthritis treatment. Various side effects are associated with Naproxen.

Serious side effects are chest pain, difficulty in breathing, bloody stools, vomiting blood, nausea, less urinating, rapid weight gain etc. Upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, blurred vision, skin itching, rash etc. are considered as minor side effects. Antidepressants should not be used simultaneously with Naproxen because it causes easy bruising and bleeding. Blood thinners, diuretics, steroids, other anti-inflammatory drugs, lithium, methotrexate, heart and blood pressure medication should be avoided because they interact with Naproxen. A doctor’s advice should be taken before using other prescriptions, vitamins, and herbal products having potential to interact with Naproxen.


Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug. This non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) reduces hormones which regulate inflammation and pain related responses. Ibuprofen is available as a tablet, chewable tablet and oral suspension. Ibuprofen intake should be carefully monitored because overdose and certain medical conditions may have negative impacts on the patient. In a case of overdose, ibuprofen cause severe damages to the stomach and intestine.

Many side effects of Ibuprofen are similar to Naproxen. Therefore, an adult should not exceed the limits 3200mg per day and 800mg per intake. It is safe to avoid ibuprofen or ask for medical advice if a person is taking aspirin, anti-depressants, water pills, heart or blood pressure medicine, steroids etc. or smoking and drinking alcohol. Taking ibuprofen during pregnancy has shown to harm the baby. Although studies show that ibuprofen passes through breast milk, any harm to the nursing baby hasn’t been observed.

Naproxen vs Ibuprofen

• Although Naproxen and Ibuprofen are both anti-inflammatory pain killers, they are used to treat many similar conditions and some different conditions.

• The dosages of Naproxen and Ibuprofen used are different.

• Naproxen and Ibuprofen are distinguishable by their adverse effects and prevalence of certain reactions.

• Naproxen and Ibuprofen inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenases. Naproxen inhibits the production of COX 1 and Ibuprofen inhibits the production of COX 2.