Best for: Arthritis and other chronic or long-lasting aches linked to inflammation
How it works: Another NSAID, naproxen works much like ibuprofen in that it blocks prostaglandins to decrease inflammation and pain. The main difference is that naproxen’s benefits last much longer, so you don’t need to re-up as often. This makes it a good choice for addressing recurring pains, such as those caused by arthritis, and when you’re on the go and don’t want to tote a bottle of pills.
Recommended dose: 220 to 440 milligrams every eight to 12 hours as needed
Maximum daily dose: 660 milligrams
Downsides: Because it’s long-acting, naproxen may be more apt to cause digestive distress than ibuprofen. But according to Dr. Steve Nissen, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, it’s slightly less likely to trigger kidney issues and hypertension. And while both naproxen and ibuprofen can interact with other drugs such as aspirin and blood thinners, naproxen also interacts with antacids and antidepressants. So if you take Zantac or Zoloft, opt for ibuprofen over naproxen for pain.
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