Unless recommended by the manufacturer, you should not keep medication in the refrigerator if they are intended to be stored at room temperature.
Aleve products, per the manufacturer, should be stored at room temperature and therefore, should not be put in the refrigerator in most situations.
Aleve comes in a variety of dosage forms, including:
- Liquid Gels
The active ingredient in Aleve, naproxen, is also available as a prescription product in tablets and extended-release tablets.
All Aleve products should be stored at room temperature, which is defined as 68-77ºF, or 20-25ºC.
Here is an image of the drug facts for Aleve Caplets, which states the storage conditions necessary for product integrity:
Why Shouldn't You Keep Aleve In The Fridge?
While it is fairly well-documented how heat and humidity can negatively affect drugs, what cold temperatures can do isn't as well reported.
When it comes to high temperatures, we know that they degrade many chemical compounds, causing them to lose potency significantly faster than if left at lower temperatures. It can also melt, or otherwise ruin capsules, soft gels etc...
Similarly, high humidity conditions can draw water into a tablet or similar dosage form, destroying the integrity of the product.
Cold temperatures are less likely to affect drugs when compared to hot temperatures, but it still is a concern.
What Cold Temperatures Do To Medications
We do know that certain types of medication are more susceptible to the negative effects of cold temperatures than others.
For example, protein-based medications, which are often referred to as 'biologics', can break down in the presence of cold, and especially, freezing temperatures. Perhaps the best example of this is with insulin.
One study, 'The effects of freezing on commercial insulin suspensions', published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, found that when stored at temperatures too cold, many types of insulin show definitive signs of molecular damage (referred to as crystal damage in the study), which may decrease the overall effectiveness of the drug.
Other protein-based drugs may experience 'shear and tension' forces from a cycle of freezing and thawing, which can significantly degrade or completely destroy them.
What Happens If You Put Aleve In The Refrigerator?
In all likelihood, solid dosage forms (e.g. Aleve tablets and capsules) would be less susceptible to damage from cold-temperatures when compared to liquids or protein-based medications (as described above).
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of reasons why Aleve shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator.
It is Not Recommended By The Manufacturer
The manufacturer states that Aleve should be stored at room temperature, not the refrigerator.
Drug manufacturers do specific stability testing to make sure their drug product will be stable, potent and retain its integrity, all the way up to the listed expiration date.
The stability testing is performed at the temperatures that they recommend the product be stored in.
For Aleve, stability testing is done at room temperature. Since there is no data on how stable it is at refrigerated temperatures, there is a chance that it may not be as potent if stored there.
Risk Of Condensation Moisture
Storing Aleve at colder temperatures puts it at risk of moisture damage from condensation.
If moisture comes into contact with Aleve, it could destroy the integrity of the dosage form (e.g. tablet or capsule). It could cause it to swell, crack, or even decrease the stability of the drug (drugs in solution are generally far less stable than solid dosage forms).
As long as it is stored at room temperature, with reasonable levels of humidity, moisture should not be an issue (also remember not to store in the bathroom due to the high humidity).
Could It Be Safe To Store Aleve In The Refrigerator?
Having gone over some of the reasons why Aleve shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator, if it is your only option, it may be worth doing.
Ideally, Aleve should be stored as recommended by the manufacturer (at room temperature) but most drugs are more likely to be negatively affected by hot temperatures rather than cold ones.
If storing at room temperature that isn't possible, or there is high humidity, storing in the refrigerator may be the best alternative option compared to exposing it to high temperatures.
Just be sure that your refrigerator isn't set to a temperature where the drug could be accidentally frozen, as this may further increase the risk of destroying the integrity of the tablet or capsule.
Additionally, be sure that your bottle of Aleve is stored in a tightly closed container, to avoid moisture from coming into contact with the drug.
Answer SummaryAleve (naproxen) should be stored at room temperature per the manufacturer's recommended storage conditions. However, if storing at room temperature isn't possible, storing Aleve in the refrigerator would be preferred over exposing to high temperatures or humidity.