Naproxen vs Arthrotec

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For patients with conditions like arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other types of chronic pain, certain drugs that reduce the production of body substances causing inflammation and pain can help in managing symptoms. Naproxen and Arthrotec are two such medications prescribed for these conditions. They both act as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but their compositions and mechanisms differ slightly.

Naproxen works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation in the body, providing relief from discomfort caused by inflammation-induced ailments. On the other hand, Arthrotec is a combination medication consisting of Diclofenac and Misoprostol. The former serves as an NSAID just like Naproxen, while Misoprostol helps protect the stomach lining from ulcers which could be a side effect of long-term use of NSAIDs.

It's essential to consider each drug's potential risks and benefits before deciding on a treatment plan with your healthcare provider.

What is Naproxen?

Naproxen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), was first approved by the FDA in 1976. It is effectively used to reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, gout, tendinitis, and menstrual cramps. Naproxen works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins - substances that our body produces in response to illness or injury causing pain and inflammation.

Arthrotec, on the other hand, contains two active ingredients: diclofenac sodium and misoprostol. Diclofenac is also an NSAID like naproxen but it's paired with misoprostol; a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analogue that protects against gastric ulcers which can be induced by long-term usage of NSAIDs. Arthrotec was first approved by the FDA in 1997 for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in patients who are at high risk of developing stomach or intestinal ulcers from treatment with NSAIDs.

Although both drugs serve similar purposes their mechanisms differ slightly; While Naproxen solely focuses on reducing inflammation and relieving pain through inhibition of prostaglandins synthesis , Arthrotec not only relieves pain but also counteracts some negative gastrointestinal effects caused by prolonged use of NSAIDs thanks to its component Misoprostol.

What conditions is Naproxen approved to treat?

Naproxen is approved for the treatment of various forms of pain and inflammation:

Arthrotec combines diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), with misoprostol to treat:

  • Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis while also reducing stomach ulcers risk associated with NSAIDs use.

How does Naproxen help with these illnesses?

Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that helps to manage pain by reducing the amount of prostaglandins, chemicals responsible for inflammation, in the body. It does this by inhibiting enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (COX 1 and COX 2), which are involved in prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins play a crucial role in processes such as fever development, inflammation, and pain perception. In individuals with conditions like arthritis or acute injury causing pain and inflammation, there may be an overproduction of these chemicals. Therefore, by decreasing prostaglandin levels through inhibition of COX enzymes, Naproxen can alleviate the symptoms associated with these conditions.

On the other hand, Arthrotec is a combination medication containing diclofenac sodium (an NSAID similar to Naproxen) and misoprostol. While diclofenac works similarly to Naproxen by limiting prostaglandin production via blocking COX enzymes and thus relieving pain and inflammation; misoprostol protects the stomach lining from ulcers often caused due to prolonged use of NSAIDs including diclofenac itself. Misoprostol achieves this protection by mimicking some actions of natural gastric protective prostaglandins.

What is Arthrotec?

Arthrotec is a unique combination medication that contains diclofenac and misoprostol. Diclofenac belongs to the class of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), reducing pain and inflammation by blocking the production of certain chemicals in your body. Misoprostol, on the other hand, is a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analogue which protects the stomach lining from ulcers, a common side effect associated with NSAID use.

Arthrotec was first approved by FDA in 1997 for treating signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in patients at high risk for developing gastric or duodenal ulcers. Unlike naproxen, Arthrotec's addition of misoprostol helps to prevent these gastrointestinal complications often seen with long-term NSAID treatment.

Side effects are generally mild but may include abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea. These effects can be minimized if Arthrotec is taken with food.

What conditions is Arthrotec approved to treat?

Arthrotec is a medication that the FDA has approved for use in managing:

  • Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, particularly for those at high risk of developing stomach ulcers from NSAID treatment.
  • Moderate to severe pain associated with inflammatory conditions.

It's noteworthy to mention that Arthrotec is a combination drug containing both diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory agent, and misoprostol, which protects the stomach lining from potential damage caused by NSAIDs.

How does Arthrotec help with these illnesses?

Arthrotec is a combination medication that offers dual action for arthritis patients. It contains diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) similar to naproxen, which works by reducing substances in the body that cause inflammation and pain. However, what sets Arthrotec apart is its additional component - misoprostol. Misoprostol helps to protect the stomach lining from ulcers, a common side effect of long-term NSAID use. This makes Arthrotec an excellent choice for those who require ongoing arthritis treatment but are at risk of developing gastric ulcers or have experienced them in the past due to NSAIDs like naproxen.

How effective are both Naproxen and Arthrotec?

Both naproxen and Arthrotec (diclofenac with misoprostol) have established histories of success in treating patients with pain, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with arthritis, and they were initially approved by the FDA just a few years apart. As they act through slightly different mechanisms - both are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but Arthrotec includes an additional component to protect against stomach ulcers - they may be prescribed under different circumstances.

The effectiveness of naproxen and Arthrotec in alleviating arthritis-related symptoms was directly studied in several clinical trials; the two drugs exhibited similar efficacy in managing these symptoms as well as similar safety profiles overall. Notably, however, due to its inclusion of misoprostol, Arthrotec is generally considered less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects such as stomach ulcers.

In terms of safety profile comparisons between NSAIDs like Naproxen or Diclofenac (part of Arthrotec), it's important to note that while all NSAIDs can potentially cause cardiovascular events or serious gastrointestinal damage including bleeding and ulceration at high doses or long-term use, studies suggest that diclofenac might carry a more substantial risk than others like naproxen.

Arthritis sufferers who require regular consumption of NSAIDS for relief from their symptoms but are at high risk for developing gastrointestinal complications would benefit from choosing formulations containing misoprostol such as Arthrotec since Misoprostol helps reduce this specific risk substantially compared with diclofenac alone or Naproxen.

Finally remember that everyone’s body responds differently so what works best will depend on individual factors including your medical history which should always involve consultation with healthcare professionals before making any medication related decisions.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Naproxen typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Naproxen range from 250-500 mg twice daily, and it's commonly used for managing arthritis pain. However, studies have shown that a lower dose of 220 mg can be effective in treating mild to moderate acute pain in adults. Children aged over two years may be given doses tailored according to their weight (approximately 5-7mg/kg), usually not exceeding the adult dosage. In either population, if there is no relief or response after several weeks, consider other treatment options. The maximum dosage that should not be exceeded is generally 1500 mg/day for adults and less for children depending on their weight.

On the other hand, Arthrotec is typically prescribed at an oral dosage of one tablet (containing 50 or 75 mg diclofenac sodium and misoprostol) two times per day with meals for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis patients who are at high risk of developing NSAID-induced stomach ulcers. If there's no sufficient relief within a few weeks, consult your doctor about changing the medication plan. It isn't recommended for use by children due to its prostaglandin-inhibiting effects.

At what dose is Arthrotec typically prescribed?

Arthrotec treatment usually begins with a dosage of 50-75 mg twice daily. This dose can be increased, but should not exceed 200 mg in total per day, divided into two doses to be taken approximately 12 hours apart. Arthrotec is typically used for the management of signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in patients at high risk for developing gastric ulcers from NSAID therapy. A higher dose may be tested if there is no response to initial treatment after a few weeks, under the supervision of your doctor. It's important to note that taking more than prescribed might lead to serious adverse effects and should therefore be avoided.

What are the most common side effects for Naproxen?

Common side effects of Naproxen can include:

  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Headache, ringing in the ears
  • Mild heartburn, indigestion, nausea or stomach pain
  • Bruising or skin rash
  • Constipation, diarrhea

On the other hand, Arthrotec may cause:

  • Diarrhea and abdominal pain
  • Mild heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Gas or bloating -Dizziness and headache.

Both drugs should be taken with food to minimize gastrointestinal discomfort. The elderly are at greater risk for serious gastrointestinal events from these medications. Always consult with your healthcare provider when choosing between different medications.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Naproxen?

While both Naproxen and Arthrotec are designed to help alleviate pain, they can have potentially serious side effects:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction including hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Heart attack symptoms such as chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech
  • Stroke symptoms like sudden severe headache, trouble speaking or understanding what is said, loss of balance or coordination
  • Low red blood cells (anemia) - pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath
  • Kidney problems - little or no urination; painful or difficult urination; swelling in feet/ankles; feeling tired/breathless
  • Liver problems - nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop; stomach/abdominal pain that may spread to the back ; flu-like symptoms (fever/chills/sore throat); yellowing eyes/skin
    If you experience any these effects while taking either medication seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Arthrotec?

Arthrotec, while effective for relieving pain and inflammation, does come with a list of potential side effects. These include:

  • Stomach upset or discomfort
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Gas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears.

In rare cases, Arthrotec can also cause more serious symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, unexplained weight loss, persistent insomnia, and unusual nervousness or agitation. It's important to note that these are not all the side effects possible with Arthrotec; always consult your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have regarding medication side effects.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Arthrotec?

Arthrotec, like any medication, can potentially cause side effects. Serious reactions that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing
  • Symptoms associated with gastrointestinal bleeding: black/bloody stools and vomiting blood or something resembling coffee grounds
  • Elevated blood pressure often resulting in headaches and problems with vision
  • Fluid retention leading to swelling of hands/feet/ankles
  • Heart-related issues including chest/jaw/left arm pain and unusual sweating
  • Liver disease symptoms such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin or dark urine

If you notice any of these adverse effects while taking Arthrotec, seek professional help without delay.

Contraindications for Naproxen and Arthrotec?

Both Naproxen and Arthrotec, like a majority of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may exacerbate symptoms in individuals with heart disease or hypertension. If you notice an increase in blood pressure or any signs of heart-related issues such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, slurring of speech et cetera, please seek immediate medical attention.

Taking either Naproxen or Arthrotec alongside other NSAIDs is not recommended as it could potentially lead to severe side effects. It's crucial that you inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are currently taking; this includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and any supplements. If you have been using other NSAIDs regularly they will need to be discontinued for at least two weeks before starting treatment with either Naproxen or Arthrotec to avoid harmful drug interactions.

How much do Naproxen and Arthrotec cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 60 tablets of Arthrotec (75 mg) averages around $330, which works out to approximately $11 per day, depending on your dose.
  • The price for 30 tablets of Naprosyn (500 mg), a brand-name version of naproxen, averages about $130. This equates to roughly $4.3/day.

Thus, if you are in the higher dosage range for Naprosyn (i.e., 1000 mg/day or higher), then brand-name Arthrotec is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you.

As far as generic versions go:

  • Generic naproxen (500mg tablets) can be purchased in packs ranging from 15 up to 180 capsules with costs starting from as low as $.02/day and reaching up to about $.50/day depending on pack size and dosage.

  • Diclofenac/Misoprostol, the active ingredients in Arthrotec come with approximate costs between $.80 and $1.20 per day if taking typical dosages between 100 -200mg /day.

Popularity of Naproxen and Arthrotec

Naproxen, in its generic form as well as under various brand names, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 6.9 million people in the US in 2020. Naproxen accounted for just over 18% of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescriptions in the US. It has remained a popular choice for patients and physicians due to its efficacy in managing pain and inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis.

Arthrotec, a combination medication containing diclofenac and misoprostol, had significantly fewer prescriptions given its more specific indications. Prescribed largely for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in patients at high risk of developing gastric ulcers from NSAID use, it caters to a smaller patient population compared to naproxen. In 2020, Arthrotec was prescribed less frequently but has seen a consistent demand over the years because of its distinct advantage of providing gastroprotective properties along with anti-inflammatory effects.


Both Naproxen and Arthrotec are medications extensively used in the management of pain associated with arthritis. They have been backed by numerous clinical studies indicating their effectiveness compared to placebo treatments. Both drugs work by inhibiting cyclooxygenase enzymes, thereby reducing inflammation and pain, but they differ in their specific mechanisms of action.

Naproxen is a non-selective NSAID that blocks both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, while Arthrotec is a combination drug containing diclofenac (a selective NSAID) and misoprostol (a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analogue), which helps protect the stomach lining from ulcers commonly caused by long-term use of NSAIDs.

In terms of prescribing patterns, Naproxen can be considered as a first-line option due to its over-the-counter availability, lower cost, and proven efficacy. Meanwhile, Arthrotec would usually be considered for patients who require long-term treatment or have high risk factors for gastrointestinal complications such as history of gastric ulcer or concurrent usage with corticosteroids or anticoagulants.

Both drugs come in generic form offering significant savings for patients paying out-of-pocket. It's important to note that like any medication these may take some time before optimal effects are experienced.

The side effect profiles are similar between the two drugs; however, there is an increased risk of gastrointestinal problems with naproxen than arthrotec due to the protective component provided by misoprostol in arthrotec formulation. As always it’s advised that if you notice any adverse reactions when starting on these medications seek medical help immediately.