Is Aleve an Anti-Inflammatory Medicine?

Aleve, a brand name for naproxen sodium, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, according to The drug provides relief for mild-to-moderate pain associated with arthritis, muscle aches, back aches, menstrual cramps, headaches and toothaches. It temporarily reduces fever and may also treat discomfort associated with the common cold.

In addition to its beneficial pain-relieving side effects, Aleve can cause headache, drowsiness, dizziness, an upset stomach and nausea or heartburn, explains WebMD. It may also cause more serious side effects, including easy bruising or bleeding; mental or mood changes; swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles; sudden weight gain; and difficult or painful swallowing. If these side effects occur, contact a doctor at once.

Aleve can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, notes This is especially true with long-term use or when taken by individuals with existing heart disease. It should not be used just before or just after coronary bypass surgery. Aleve can also cause serious stomach or intestinal bleeding without warning.

Certain medications can interact with Aleve, reminds These include antidepressants, such as Prozac and Zoloft; blood thinners, such as Coumadin; diuretics; lithium; and methotrexate. Steroids, heart or blood pressure medications and other anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can also interact with Aleve. Anyone who takes any of these medications should check with a physician before using Aleve.