Ask Larry:

Your Question: Larry, I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about Naproxen in the media the past week. What is the deal with Naproxen? Do you recommend that over tylenol or ibuprofen?

Larry’s Response: Naproxen is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatorty (NSAID) – as is Ibuprofen, Dexibuprofen, Fenoprofen, Ketoprofen, and a couple dozen others, including aspirin. The differences between each of the products center mostly on marketing rather than clinical superiority – or side effects.

Some people may experience side effects with one product, but pain relief is about the same, as are warnings about interactions.

There has been conversation about naproxen (Aleve) recently. It seems the manufacturer tried using a recent study to suggest that their product (Aleve) offers some benefits for cardiovascular health.

The Food and Drug Administration voted 16-9 against the conclusion that naproxen has a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than similar other NSAIDs, such as those mentioned above, which supports my comment that the difference are primarily marketing efforts instead of real clinical issues.

When absolutely needed – and only for short duration – I would suggest any NSAID, including aspirin, to treat inflammation (including fever). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) does not usually give the same anti-inflammatory action as the NSAIDs. It has a different mechanism of action.

Regular use of any pain reliever can cause serious problems, not just in the gut.

So you’re hearing about it more because someone is trying to sell more of it.