Does Naproxen Go Bad

In this brief article, we will be answering the question, “does naproxen go bad?”, and will also be highlighting the uses of Naproxen and its potential side effects. 

Does Naproxen Go Bad?

Not necessarily. 

Painkillers such as naproxen have a relatively low risk of expiration and of causing problems if used after their expiration date. 

However, they may begin to lose their potency and will require multiple and larger doses to deliver desired effects.

Can You Use Naproxen After The Expiration Date?

Yes, you can use naproxen after its expiration date.

Contrary to common belief, the expiration date does not indicate the time when the medication will go bad or will no longer remain effective. Medical authorities state that most expired medicines stay safe to consume even years after they have passed their best-before date. 

The pharmaceutical product shelf life, also referred to as the expiration date, is the time period during which the product is expected to retain its identity, purity, quality, and strength when properly stored as specified in the container label. Performance of the drug product beyond the manufacturer set shelf life has been a subject of study over the past several decades. Studies have shown that many drug products retain their shelf life quality characteristics such as potency and efficacy, several years beyond the expiration date if stored properly (1).

What manufacturers mean by the expiration date is that the medicine might lose its potency and effectiveness after this date. Moreover, storing medication properly in a cool place away from direct sunlight and moisture will help them retain their potency for many years.

What is Naproxen?

Naproxen or 2-(6-methoxynaphthalen-2-yl) propanoic acid belongs to a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body (2). Naproxen is a common prescription painkiller used to treat a wide range of health conditions, such as gout, arthritis, menstrual pain, sprains, back pain, and strains. It falls under the category of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). 

NSAIDs are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that are commonly used to reduce inflammation and high temperatures, as well as treat short-term muscular and joint pain.

Naproxen is available in the form of tablets (oral delayed-release tablets or gastro-resistant tablets) and as an oral suspension (powder that needs to be diluted). Naproxen tablets come in varying strengths, such as 250 milligrams and 500 milligrams.

What Are Some Mild Side Effects Of Naproxen?

Although adverse effects of NSAIDs occur in only a small proportion of users, their widespread use has resulted in a substantial overall number of affected persons who experience gastrointestinal complications. These could lead to hospitalizations and even death. NSAIDs cause gastrointestinal damage through a variety of mechanisms. Some of these detrimental effects are due to the topical irritant actions of these compounds, but the vast majority are due to the main pharmacological effect, i.e. inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase activity, which results in reduced gastric blood flow and increased leukocyte adherence. Both play an essential role in gastrointestinal damage (2).

Listed below are some of the common side effects of naproxen. 

  • Gastric disturbances,  such as stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn, and bloating
  • Dizziness and drowsiness 
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Itchy skin with rashes

The gastrointestinal side effects can usually be managed or stopped by taking the medication with or after your main meal. This helps protect the stomach.

Also, it is not necessarily that everyone taking Naproxen will experience these side effects; they usually tend to affect about one in 100 people.

Can Naproxen Have Serious Side Effects?

Serious side effects from Naproxen are rare. However, they can occur, and that’s why it is important to know what they are:

  • Developing a stomach or gut ulcer, with symptoms such as severe indigestion,  stomach pain, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Vomiting blood or particles resembling coffee grounds
  • Blood in the stool, or black, tar-like stools
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain and breathlessness
  • Liver damage (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)
  • Kidney damage (blood in the urine, dark-colored urine, urinating less often) 
  • Meningitis (fever, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light)
  • Inflamed pancreas (stomach pain, diarrhea, back pain, weight loss, vomiting)

Immediately consult your doctor if you experience any of these serious side effects.

Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis)

In rare instances, certain people can develop a serious allergic reaction to Naproxen.

The signs and symptoms that indicate a serious allergic reaction include the following (3):

  • Difficulty  breathing or wheezing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Chest or throat tightness
  • Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, or tongue
  • Rashes, peeling skin, or itchy, red, and swollen blisters
  • Severe dizziness
  • waking with an attack of coughing
  • nasal blockage, nasal
  • discharge, facial pain or pressure, and reduction in sense of smell

DO NOT take Naproxen if you have had allergic reactions to other anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin, ibuprofen, or diclofenac.

Does Everyone Experience Side Effects?

No, people mostly tolerate Naproxen well and find that it works safely to relieve pain.

In fact, Naproxen is thought to have lesser side effects as compared to other anti-inflammatory medications including high-strength ibuprofen, especially gastrointestinal side effects. It is estimated that 10–60% of NSAID users experience dyspeptic symptoms with a relative risk and approximately 5% to 15% of rheumatoid arthritis patients taking NSAIDs are expected to discontinue medication because of dyspepsia (2).

Moreover, serious side effects are generally higher in individuals who have been taking NSAIDs for long periods, for instance, daily for weeks, months, or years.

Who Shouldn’t Take Naproxen?

Individuals who have previously had a heart attack, have heart disease, or are at risk of developing heart disease or related chronic ailments such as high blood pressure should only take Naproxen after consulting a healthcare professional. Other contraindications of NSAIDs are peptic ulcer disease and renal impairment (3).

This is because Naproxen increases the risks of stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks.

How Should You Discard Expired Naproxen?

You can discard expired Naproxen using the following FDA-approved methods:

  1. Give the medicine to a drug take-back program
  1. Flush the medicine down the toilet or sink
  2. Dispose of the medicine in household trash – remove them from their original container and mix them with something undesirable, place them in a sealed bag and throw them in the trash. 


In this brief article, we will be answering the question, “does naproxen go bad?”, and also highlighting the uses of Naproxen and its potential side effects. 

If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.


  1. Khan, Saeed R., et al. United States Food and Drug Administration and Department of Defense Shelf‐Life Extension Program of Pharmaceutical Products: Progress and Promise. J Pharmaceu Sci, 2014, 103, 1331-1336.
  2. Lazzaroni, M., and G. Bianchi Porro. Gastrointestinal side‐effects of traditional non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs and new formulations. Aliment pharmacol therap, 2004, 20, 48-58.
  3. Makowska, Joanna S., et al. Respiratory hypersensitivity reactions to NSAID s in Europe: the global allergy and asthma network (GA 2 LEN) survey. Allergy, 2016, 71, 1603-1611.

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