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Aleve is used to relieve pain from various conditions such as headaches, muscle aches, tendonitis, dental pain, and menstrual cramps. It also reduces pain, swelling, and joint stiffness caused by arthritis, bursitis, and gout attacks. Aleve is known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by blocking your body's production of certain natural substances that cause inflammation.
If you are treating a chronic condition such as arthritis, ask your doctor about non-drug treatments and/or using other medications to treat your pain. See also Warning section.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using Aleve and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take Aleve by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 or 3 times a day with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters). Do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking Aleve. To prevent stomach upset, take Aleve with food, milk, or an antacid.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of stomach bleeding and other side effects, take Aleve at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Do not increase your dose or take Aleve more often than directed. For ongoing conditions such as arthritis, continue taking Aleve as directed by your doctor.
For certain conditions (such as arthritis), it may take up to two weeks of taking Aleve regularly until you get the full benefit.
If you are taking Aleve "as needed" (not on a regular schedule), remember that pain medications work best if they are used as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, the medication may not work as well.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Upset stomach, nausea, heartburn, headache, drowsiness, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed Aleve because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using Aleve do not have serious side effects.
Aleve may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bruising/bleeding, difficult/painful swallowing, hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears), mental/mood changes, swelling of the ankles/feet/hands, sudden/unexplained weight gain, change in the amount of urine, unexplained stiff neck, vision changes, unusual tiredness.
Aleve may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, including: dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting/loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to Aleve is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before taking Aleve, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to aspirin or other NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen, celecoxib); or if you have any other allergies. Aleve may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before taking Aleve, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: asthma (including a history of worsening breathing after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs), blood disorders (such as anemia, bleeding/clotting problems), growths in the nose (nasal polyps), heart disease (such as previous heart attack), high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, throat/stomach/intestinal problems (such as bleeding, heartburn, ulcers).
Kidney problems can sometimes occur with the use of NSAID medications, including Aleve. Problems are more likely to occur if you are dehydrated, have heart failure or kidney disease, are an older adult, or if you take certain medications (see also Drug Interactions section). Drink plenty of fluids as directed by your doctor to prevent dehydration and tell your doctor right away if you have any unusual change in the amount of urine.
Aleve may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Aleve may cause stomach bleeding. Daily use of alcohol and tobacco, especially when combined with Aleve, may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcohol and stop smoking. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Aleve may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
Some Aleve products contain salt (sodium). Tell your doctor if you are on a salt-restricted diet.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of Aleve, especially stomach/intestinal bleeding and kidney problems.
Before using Aleve, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the benefits and risks (such as miscarriage, trouble getting pregnant). Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, Aleve should be used only when clearly needed. It is not recommended for use during the first and last trimesters of pregnancy due to possible harm to the unborn baby and interference with normal labor/delivery.
Aleve passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Products that may interact with Aleve include: aliskiren, ACE inhibitors (such as captopril, lisinopril), angiotensin II receptor blockers (such as losartan, valsartan), cidofovir, corticosteroids (such as prednisone), lithium, "water pills" (diuretics such as furosemide).
Aleve may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with other drugs that also may cause bleeding. Examples include anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel, "blood thinners" such as dabigatran/enoxaparin/warfarin, among others.
Check all prescription and nonprescription medicine labels carefully since many medications contain pain relievers/fever reducers (aspirin, NSAIDs such as celecoxib, ibuprofen, or ketorolac). These drugs are similar to Aleve and may increase your risk of side effects if taken together. However, if your doctor has directed you to take low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams a day), you should continue taking the aspirin unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Daily use of Aleve may decrease aspirin's ability to prevent heart attach/stroke. Talk to your doctor about using a different medication (such as acetaminophen) to treat pain/fever. If you must take Aleve, talk to your doctor about possibly taking immediate-release aspirin (not enteric-coated/EC) and then taking your Aleve at a different time after your aspirin. Do not increase your daily dose of aspirin or change the way you take aspirin/other medications without your doctor's approval.
Aleve can affect the results of certain laboratory tests, possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use Aleve.