Vimovo vs Naproxen

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For patients with conditions like arthritis or chronic pain, certain drugs that inhibit the production of compounds in the body linked to inflammation and pain can help in managing discomfort and enhancing quality of life. Vimovo and Naproxen are two such medications commonly prescribed for these conditions. They each impact different pathways related to inflammation but both have significant effects in patients struggling with painful symptoms. Vimovo is a combination drug made up of naproxen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and esomeprazole magnesium (a proton pump inhibitor), which reduces stomach acid, protecting against ulcers that may develop due to prolonged use of NSAIDs like naproxen. On the other hand, Naproxen alone simply works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body.

What is Vimovo?

Vimovo and Naproxen are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that help to relieve pain, swelling, and joint stiffness caused by arthritis. However, there's a significant difference between the two. Vimovo is actually a combination of two active ingredients: naproxen and esomeprazole magnesium. The latter component is a proton pump inhibitor which reduces the production of stomach acid. This makes Vimovo an excellent choice for those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or other similar conditions as it minimizes the risk of developing gastric ulcers often associated with long-term usage of NSAIDs like naproxen alone. Therefore, while Naproxen can be efficient in treating symptoms related to inflammation and pain, Vimovo offers an additional protective effect on the stomach lining due to its unique composition.

What conditions is Vimovo approved to treat?

Vimovo is approved for the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis in patients who are at risk for developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers
  • Symptomatic relief of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in adults where use of both naproxen and esomeprazole is appropriate.

Note that Vimovo contains two active ingredients: naproxen to treat pain and inflammation, and esomeprazole to reduce stomach acid thus protecting against stomach ulcers.

How does Vimovo help with these illnesses?

Vimovo helps manage symptoms of arthritis by reducing the amount of inflammatory substances available in the body. It does this by blocking enzymes responsible for their production, so levels can be maintained lower for longer periods of time. Prostaglandins are among these substances, and they play an important role in inflammation, pain sensation, and fever amongst other things. It is thought that individuals with arthritis have relatively higher levels of prostaglandins. Therefore, by reducing prostaglandin levels, Vimovo can limit the negative effects of arthritis and help patients manage their condition while alleviating pain. An added benefit to Vimovo over naproxen alone is that it also contains esomeprazole which serves to protect the stomach lining from potential damage caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen.

What is Naproxen?

Naproxen, often sold under the brand name Aleve, is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) which works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It was first approved by the FDA in 1976. Naproxen's scope of use extends to treating conditions such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendinitis, bursitis, gout or menstrual cramps. As it does not fall into the class of opioids or steroids for pain relief, it doesn't lead to addiction or dependence issues associated with these classes of drugs.

Its lack of opioid characteristics means its side-effect profile differs from those categories: i.e., it does not typically induce sedation nor alter cognitive function substantially when used at therapeutic dosages. The effects on relieving inflammation can be beneficial especially for patients seeking effective over-the-counter medication options for common inflammatory conditions rather than resorting to more potent prescription-only alternatives like Vimovo.

What conditions is Naproxen approved to treat?

Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has been widely approved for the treatment of:

  • Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
  • Acute gout or other types of pain
  • Primary dysmenorrhea, also known as painful menstrual cramps.

How does Naproxen help with these illnesses?

Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It plays an essential role in managing conditions like arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendinitis, bursitis, gout or menstrual cramps. Naproxen operates by inhibiting enzymes involved in prostaglandin synthesis, thereby diminishing the production of inflammatory mediators within the body. Vimovo contains naproxen combined with esomeprazole magnesium; this added ingredient aids in reducing stomach acid and potential gastrointestinal issues associated with regular NSAID use. However, when a patient does not have stomach-related problems or concerns about gastric complications from NSAIDs such as naproxen alone may be sufficient for their treatment without involving proton pump inhibitors like esomeprazole found in Vimovo.

How effective are both Vimovo and Naproxen?

Vimovo and Naproxen both have a proven history of effectiveness in treating pain, fever, and inflammation due to conditions such as arthritis. Vimovo was approved by the FDA in 2010 while naproxen has been available over-the-counter since 1994. Both drugs belong to the NSAID class but differ distinctly in their formulation; Vimovo is a combination drug containing both naproxen for pain relief and esomeprazole magnesium (a proton pump inhibitor) that helps protect against stomach ulcers, which can be caused by long-term use or higher doses of NSAIDs.

The efficacy of these two medications was compared directly in several studies where they were used for chronic musculoskeletal conditions. The results showed comparable effects on reducing symptoms like joint swelling, tenderness, and range-of-motion limitations. However, patients using Vimovo had significantly lower rates of gastric ulcers than those taking only naproxen.

A review conducted on various clinical trials involving vimovo demonstrated its ability to provide symptomatic relief from inflammation beginning from the first few days of treatment with a safety profile similar to other NSAIDs when it comes to common side-effects like headaches or dizziness. This study also highlighted that Vimovo's composition makes it particularly useful for patients at high risk for developing gastric ulcers due to age or prior history.

While there are no meta-analyses specifically comparing vimovo exclusively against placebo or other common analgesics apart from naproxen itself thus far; most reviews suggest that it should be considered an addition rather than a first-line option if gastrointestinal protection is needed alongside pain management due to cost considerations versus co-prescribing an individual PPI alongside an NSAIDs.

Naproxen alone still has significant utility as an anti-inflammatory agent with strong evidence supporting its efficacy across multiple inflammatory disorders including osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis among others despite having more potential risks associated with long-term usage especially related gastritis/ulcerations without protective measures taken into account e.g., concurrent PPI prescription.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Vimovo typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Vimovo usually consist of a single 500 mg/20 mg tablet twice daily, but different cases may require adjustments. This medication is often used for arthritis sufferers and its dosage can be adjusted according to the severity of the condition. Children and adolescents should only use Vimovo under direct medical supervision. In any population, if there's no response after several weeks, consult your healthcare provider who might consider increasing the dosage or switching medications. It's advised not to exceed two tablets (1000mg/40mg) within a 24-hour period unless directed by a physician.

At what dose is Naproxen typically prescribed?

Naproxen therapy typically begins with a dose of 250-500 mg, taken by mouth twice daily. This dose can then be increased to 1500 mg/day if needed, divided into two doses and spaced approximately 12 hours apart. The maximum prescribed dose is usually 1500 mg/day that could be administered in three separate doses of 500mg each, spaced around eight hours apart; this may be considered if there's no significant pain relief at the starting dosage after several weeks. As always, it's important for patients to take medication exactly as their healthcare professional prescribes.

What are the most common side effects for Vimovo?

Common side effects of Vimovo may include:

  • Nausea, indigestion, stomach pain
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Gas or bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Skin itching or rash
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Fatigue (general weakness and tiredness)
  • Sweating

Do note that this is not a complete list and other side effects may occur. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking Vimovo, it's important to contact your healthcare provider immediately for guidance.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Vimovo?

While Vimovo and Naproxen are both used to relieve pain, there can be different side effects. For Vimovo users, the potential serious adverse reactions include:

  • Cardiovascular Thrombotic Events: including myocardial infarction and stroke which can be fatal.
  • Gastrointestinal Bleeding, Ulceration, and Perforation: these can occur at any time during use without warning symptoms.
  • Hepatotoxicity: severe hepatic reactions such as jaundice or hepatitis may occur; discontinue if clinical signs of liver disease develop.
  • Hypertension: blood pressure elevation should be monitored closely during treatment with this medication.
  • Heart Failure and Edema: fluid retention and edema have been observed in patients taking NSAIDs like Vimovo.

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Vimovo, stop immediately and contact your healthcare provider right away. Remember that health decisions should always be made in consultation with your medical professional who understands your personal health history.

What are the most common side effects for Naproxen?

Potential side effects of taking naproxen can include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, heartburn
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Mild skin rash or bruising
  • Stomach upset and possible stomach ulcers with prolonged use
  • Increased sweating Anxiety and nervousness are less common but can occur. If you experience any more severe symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, slurred speech or problems with vision or balance while using naproxen, it's important to seek medical help immediately.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Naproxen?

While Naproxen is generally considered safe, it may cause serious side effects in certain cases. These include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing or swallowing due to swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Skin reactions such as reddening, blistering and peeling skin rash
  • Symptoms of stomach bleeding: bloody or tarry stools; coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Liver problems: nausea, upper stomach pain, tiredness, loss of appetite and dark urine
  • Kidney problems: shortness of breath with little to no urination
  • High blood pressure symptoms: severe headache with chest pain behind the eyes

If you experience any of these adverse reactions while taking Naproxen stop using the medication immediately and seek medical attention.

Contraindications for Vimovo and Naproxen?

Both Vimovo and Naproxen, along with most other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may worsen symptoms of heart disease in some people. If you notice your chest pain worsening or an increase in hypertension, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Vimovo nor Naproxen can be taken if you are taking, or have been taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) without doctor supervision. Always inform your physician about all the medications you are taking; blood thinners will require careful monitoring to prevent dangerous interactions with both Vimovo and Naproxen.

How much do Vimovo and Naproxen cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 60 tablets of Vimovo (500 mg/20 mg) averages around $3100, which works out to approximately $52/day, depending on your dose.
  • The price of 30 tablets of Naproxen (500 mg) is about $140, working out to roughly $4.67/day.

Thus, if you are in need for a treatment option that combines an NSAID with a proton pump inhibitor like esomeprazole (as in Vimovo), you will be paying significantly more than using naproxen alone. Please note that cost should not be your primary consideration when determining which medication is right for you.

As for generic options:

  • Generic naproxen (500 mg tablets) is available in packs ranging from 15 up to several hundred tablets and costs can range from as low as $0.10 per day up to around $1 per day.

There currently isn't a direct generic equivalent for Vimovo since it's a combination drug containing two active ingredients: naproxen and esomeprazole. However, both individual components have generics available: generic naproxen and omeprazole or pantoprazole could be used instead at significantly lower daily costs compared to Vimovo.

Popularity of Vimovo and Naproxen

Naproxen, in its generic form as well as under brand names such as Aleve, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 6.1 million people in the US in 2020. Naproxen accounted for nearly 10% of all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescriptions in the US that year. Its usage has remained stable over recent years due to its effectiveness at relieving pain and reducing inflammation.

Vimovo, a combination medication containing naproxen and esomeprazole magnesium (a proton pump inhibitor), had significantly fewer prescriptions filled - around 200 thousand in the USA during 2020. Vimovo is designed specifically for patients who require daily NSAID treatment and are at risk for developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers. The prevalence of Vimovo has seen an increase since it was introduced into the market; however, it still accounts for less than one percent of overall NSAID prescriptions due to its relatively specialized use.


Both Vimovo and Naproxen are used in the treatment of pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis, but they have different compositions. Vimovo is a combination drug that includes naproxen (an NSAID) and esomeprazole magnesium (a proton pump inhibitor). This dual formulation has been designed to offer both anti-inflammatory action from naproxen along with stomach protection from esomeprazole.

Naproxen alone does not provide any protective effect on the stomach lining, which can be a concern for long term users or those who have had previous gastrointestinal issues like peptic ulcers. Therefore, it's frequently recommended that patients taking long-term NSAIDs also take gastro-protective medications to minimize these risks.

The choice between these two drugs may depend on patient-specific factors such as their individual risk profile for gastrointestinal side effects, other concurrent medication use, cost considerations, etc., all of which should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Both drugs are effective at relieving pain and reducing inflammation but require an adjustment period where the full effects may not be immediately noticeable.

As far as side effects go, while both can cause typical NSAID-related side effects like headache or GI discomforts including nausea or diarrhea; due to its composition there’s less chance of serious gastric problems with Vimovo compared to Naproxen. However, patients must monitor their reactions closely when beginning either therapy and seek medical help if they notice signs indicative of an allergic reaction or severe gastrointestinal problems.