Naproxen sodium in low doses of 500 mg and up is used to treat pain associated with conditions such as headaches, backaches and toothaches, according to Everyday Health. Higher doses closer to 1,000 mg are used in conditions that result in swelling and inflammation as well as pain.
Naproxen sodium, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAID, first saw use in the United States as a subscription-only pain reliever in 1980, Everyday Health reports. It was approved by the FDA as an over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatory in 1994. Prescription-strength dosages are still available and may be given out for severe or chronic pain management — a need which may arise in response to severe joint inflammation, juvenile arthritis, tendonitis, menstrual complications and a variety of other relatively common but painful conditions.
In addition to being the major active ingredient in Aleve, over-the-counter naproxen sodium is the primary ingredient in Anaprox, Naprelan and Naprosyn and is also present in generic medications, explains Everyday Health. Nonprescription-strength dosages range from 500 to 1,000 mg and should be taken with water or with food if the medicine causes an upset stomach. It's not recommended at any dose for children under the age of 2, and the elderly have a slightly increased risk of gastrointestinal side effects, including ulcers and constipation.