Is Aleve Safe For Pregnancy?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the safety of Aleve (naproxen) during pregnancy.
I took 1 Aleve today. I'm 9 weeks pregnant. Am I going to harm my baby?
Aleve (naproxen) is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that is a commonly used over the counter analgesic. It is used to treat mild to moderate pain, as well inflammation.
Aleve, and all NSAIDs, are generally not recommended to be used during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. It is classified as a pregnancy category C during the first two trimesters and as a category D during the third.
Pregnancy category C is defined as follows by the FDA:
"Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks."
It is specifically recommended to not take Aleve during the third trimester as various studies have shown that it increases the risk of:
- Premature closure of ductus arteriosus
- Fetal kidney toxicity
- Inhibition of labor
Guidelines published in American Family Physician recommend against the use of NSAIDs.
Data on the effects of Aleve before the third trimester isn't comprehensive but there has been a small association with eye development changes, neural tube defects, oral clefts, and pulmonary valve stenosis.
In general, Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a analgesic of choice during pregnancy if one is needed. If you and your doctor determine that an NSAID like Aleve is needed, use the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration but don't use late in pregnancy.
One dose of Aleve most likely will not cause a problem, as it is prolonged use of NSAIDs that are most commonly associated with the issues described above. Nevertheless, if you are concerned, you should reach out to your doctor.