Naproxen not working

Hi there - I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis about 18 months ago in both hips, knees and my shoulder - I also have issues with my back. The FCP I saw just told me to take paracetamol but this was next to useless, so after virtually begging I was given co-codamol. Over time, the pain has got worse - I'm overweight so I know that doesn't help and it's a continuous battle to try and reduce my weight. I was recently told to try Naproxen twice daily along with Omeprazole once daily, as I explained that the pain is so bad I can't walk more than a few steps and my life has been so impacted. After 3 weeks, I can honestly say that I've felt no improvement/relief really at all - was I expecting too much? I don't like taking NSAID's as my mother and grandfather died from perforated stomach ulcers, so I'm wondering if the worry of taking them is worth it for feeling next to no relief. I asked for Diclofenac but understand that is no longer prescribed. Are there any alternatives I can ask for, as I just feel this is hopeless's really getting me down. Thank you!


  • @cox1058 hi there

    It's so difficult as every person is different, what works for 1 person will do little to nothing for the next . I personally like naproxan but not twice daily long term as that's asking for trouble

    I feel ice and heat packs and warm baths are good for my joints. As to volterol gel. But these are just to supplement the pain killers.

    Cocodamol 30/500 helps but I needed drugs for nerve pain to help (Nortriptyline)

    I've heard many people try nefopam but I don't know much about it.

    I wish you well

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 380

    I think a lot of folks find that the usual prescribed drugs aren't enough on their own and it's a vicious circle - you're in so much pain you can't do the physio and exercises necessary to improve joint health and that leads to weight gain which makes symptoms worse.

    If you're nervous about taking NSAIDs there are natural alternatives such as Curcumin & Black Pepper, Boswellia Serrata, Ceylon Cinnamon, Omega 3 fish oil and Montmorency Cherry which can be bought in capsule form and all have proven anti-inflammatory properties. Getting Omega-3 rich foodstuffs like oily fish and eggs into your diet along with Olives, walnuts and dark green leafy veg can also help with inflammation as well as being healthy.

    Many people with widespread Arthritis find hydrotherapy helps (the water is soothing and it's very gentle on joints), as does some of the more holistic alternative therapies such as Yoga, Tai Chi and Acupuncture.

    In any event I hope you find some relief and begin to feel more human soon.


  • Hi @cox1058

    Thanks for your post to the Helpline. Sorry to hear you aren't feeling any relief from the Naproxen. I can understand your reluctance to take them after what happened to your mother and grandfather.

    Have you discussed your concerns with your GP and the potential risks you are being put at. There are the newer type of NSAIDs called 'coxibs' (celecoxib) which have a lower risk of digestive problems.

    There are many things other than drugs that can be used to manage the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis, often using several techniques at once can help, but it is about finding the right treatment path for you.

    There’s more information on managing pain on our website:  

    Best wishes

    Tracey - Helpline Advisor

  • Nurina
    Nurina Member Posts: 185

    Naproxen didn't make any difference with my OA pain and it was messing with my stomach. Omeprazole has too many secondary effects and some countries are trying to ban it. I stopped taking them after 4 days. My consultant said they don't make OA pain any better. I hope ypu can find a good painkiller with less secondary effects.

  • Jewels1973
    Jewels1973 Member Posts: 49

    @cox1058 Hi I haven’t actually been diagnosed by a consultant yet but my doctor for the last two years has been giving me 8 tablets of Tramadol 50mg a day (2 tablets 4 times a day), also I take co-codamol 30/500mg (2 tablets 4 times a day) I also have been told to take the full compliment of nurofen a day. Naproxen did nothing for me. I don’t think I have osteoarthritis I have my appt for rheumatoid arthritis consultation in March. My regime and I take fish oil supplements and gummies with turmeric in them as well. With me my pain has got worse but that could be because I have rheumatoid arthritis but it might be worth talking to your doctor about tramadol plus co codamol plus nurofen as it might work in your case. I hope you find some relief soon it’s terrible when you are in constant pain.

  • Margaret44
    Margaret44 Member Posts: 1

    Anyone tried any gels or creams which are helpful with burning pain due to osteoarthritis to help with sleeping?

    Many thanks.

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 380
    edited 6. Feb 2024, 15:21

    Hello @Margaret44

    I think the short answer to your question is likely to be "no". There are a few "freeze" gels out there, I've tried them all and they barely touch the sides. It's old-fashioned but tried and trusted and that's ice packs - they reduce inflammation and the associated fever, throbbing, aching, itchiness and tightness.

  • cox1058
    cox1058 Member Posts: 9

    Thank you all for your comments - I've now been told today to stop the Naproxen as it clearly isn't having much if any effect, and now have to try Etoricoxib. I was pleased initially as the people here at Versus Arthritis had mentioned the 'coxibs' are less harmful on the stomach, though I've now seen warnings that they can cause fatal heart attacks and strokes even if you have no other risk factors for those! I feel like I'm going out of the frying pan into the fire now! I have had co-codamol before and take nowhere near the maximum of 8 per day that you can have - I've only ever had 3 on a bad day, but the doctors have said because they are addictive, I can't have them for longer than 3 months, so what good is that? This condition is not going to go away, I realise that. From what I've been told by others, they won't prescribe Tramadol in this locality now either....I do take Turmeric, but have only been having it for a month and not noticed any difference as yet.

  • swimmer60
    swimmer60 Member Posts: 146


    That seems a large quantity of pain killers to me. I think you should insist on a proper diagnosis by a consultant.

    Have you had x-rays?

  • Jewels1973
    Jewels1973 Member Posts: 49

    @swimmer60 I know I’ve always thought that’s a lot of painkillers.

    Im having my first NHS Rheumatology Appt on the 6th March where fingers crossed they will do some x rays and find out what’s the matter with me. My dr from the start has said inflammatory arthritis but I’ve been bumped up the NHS waiting list because my pain is getting worse and also my inflammation markers are high so I’m really hoping they can give me some proper treatment. I know they are looking it being Rheumatoid Arthritis so I know you get put on a whole different regime if it is that.

    Thanks for caring that means a lot.

    Julie x

  • swimmer60
    swimmer60 Member Posts: 146


    Do hope you get a proper diagnosis and, hopefully, can go forward from there. Good luck😘

  • Jewels1973
    Jewels1973 Member Posts: 49

    @swimmer60 Thanks that means a lot. Julie x

  • cox1058
    cox1058 Member Posts: 9

    I was diagnosed by an FCP but he offered nothing more than paracetamol which were useless. I will only be on one painkiller a day with these new ones...just wondering if anyone else has had success with 'coxibs' if naproxen hadn't worked first...

  • Hi@cox1058

    As you have mentioned your OA is widespread, and the meds side of things sounds so complicated, it can be helpful to review the practical self-management side of things in the meantime. So that is where your daily routines come in: to do with keeping moving (and specific exercises), as well as healthy eating to keep weight down.

    On the Living with arthritis Online Community there is really good support for how you are feeling in yourself as well as encouragement over the management side of things. The videos on YouTube can offer lots of ideas for simple movements for life at home.

    versus arthritis youtube channel - Search Videos (

    Osteoarthritis (OA) | Causes, symptoms, treatments (

    I hope that's helpful

    Guy - Helpline Team