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Generic Name:

fenoprofen, Oral capsule

All Brands

  • Nalfon
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for fenoprofen

Oral capsule
1

Fenoprofen is an oral medication used for short-term treatment of mild to moderate pain. It’s also used as a long-term treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

2

Common side effects include stomach pain, diarrhea, gas, constipation, heartburn, and dizziness.

3

Take your doses of fenoprofen with a glass of water. Try not to lie down for at least 10 minutes after you take the medication.

4

Before starting fenoprofen, tell your doctor if you smoke cigarettes or have more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day. These behaviors can increase the risk of stomach problems, including ulcers and bleeding.

5

Take this medication with caution if you have a history of heart disease, risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, or have a history of stomach bleeding.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Heart attack and stroke. This drug is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs may increase your risk of potentially fatal heart attack or stroke. 

You should not receive this drug to treat pain after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. It can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

Ulcer and stomach bleeding. This drug can also increase your risk of peptic ulcers (holes in the lining of your stomach or intestines) or bleeding from your stomach or intestines. These conditions can be fatal.

May cause allergic reaction

This medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • hives
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • rash
  • chest pain

Don’t take this drug if you‘ve had any of these allergic-type reactions or asthma after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs.

May cause skin reactions

This drug can cause a serious skin condition called Steven-Johnson syndrome as well as toxic epidermal necrolysis. These reactions can lead to death. Tell your doctor right away if you experience:

  • rash
  • blisters
  • fever

May cause liver damage

This drug can cause liver damage and liver toxicity. Stop taking this drug if you experience:

  • unusual tiredness
  • nausea
  • weakness
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • flu-like symptoms, such as fever or chills

What is fenoprofen?

This drug is a prescription medication. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet and oral capsule.

This drug is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why it's used

This drug is approved to treat:

  • osteoarthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • swelling and mild to moderate pain

How it works

This medication belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs help reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.

More Details

How it works

This medication belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs help reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.

It isn’t known how this medication works to decrease pain. It may help reduce swelling by lowering levels of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance that usually causes inflammation.

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SECTION 2 of 5

fenoprofen Side Effects

Oral capsule

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with fenoprofen include:

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • dizziness

  • heartburn

  • minor upset stomach

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • skin rash
    • itching
    • hives
    • swelling of your face, lips, or tongue
  • bleeding or peptic ulcers. Symptoms may include:

    • black or bloody stools
    • blood in your urine or vomit
    • nausea or vomiting
    • severe stomach pain
  • stroke. Symptoms may include:

    • slurred speech
    • weakness on one side of your body
  • liver problems. Symptoms may include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • feeling unusually weak or tired
  • heart problems. Symptoms may include:

    • chest pain
    • unexplained weight gain or swelling
  • trouble breathing or wheezing

  • blurred vision

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug may cause you to feel dizzy or drowsy. Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how it will affect you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

fenoprofen May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Fenoprofen can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol Interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking fenoprofen can irritate your stomach. This can cause ulcers, stomach bleeding, or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Anticoagulant, blood thinner
  • warfarin

Combining these drugs increases your risk of stomach bleeding.

Bipolar disorder medication
  • lithium 

Fenoprofen may cause amounts of lithium in your blood to increase to toxic levels. Symptoms may include tremors, excessive thirst, or confusion.

Blood pressure drugs

These include: 

  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • diuretics

Fenoprofen may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of these drugs.

Diuretics

Fenoprofen can decrease the effect of some diuretics, including: 

  • furosemide
  • hydrochlorothiazide

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Examples are:

  • aspirin
  • ketorolac 

Fenoprofen is a NSAID. Taking it with other NSAIDs may increase your risk of side effects, such as stomach bleeding or ulcers.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug
  • methotrexate 

Combining these drugs can increase the levels of methotrexate in your body, which can be toxic.

Seizure drugs

Taking fenoprofen with medications from the hydantoin drug class can increase hydantoin activity in your body. This can lead to toxic effects. Phenytoin is one example of these drugs.

Antibiotic drugs

Taking fenoprofen with medications from the sulfonamide class can potentially increase sulfonamide activity in your body. This can lead to toxic effects.

Diabetes drugs

Taking fenoprofen with medications from the sulfonylureas class can potentially increase sulfonylureas activity in your body. This can lead to toxic effects. Glipizide is one example of these drugs.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
heart problems
People with heart problems

This drug may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, or are at increased risk, your doctor may treat you with the lowest dose of this drug for the shortest period of time. 

high blood pressure
People with high blood pressure

This drug can cause fluid to build up around your heart. This can cause high blood pressure or make high blood pressure worse. Your doctor may monitor you closely if you have high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.

stomach problems
People with stomach problems

This drug increases your risk of ulcer or bleeding from your stomach and intestines. If you have a history of ulcers or bleeding from your stomach or intestines, your doctor may adjust your dose or prescribe a different drug.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

Taking this drug for a long time can cause damage to your kidneys. Also, if you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the levels of this drug in your body and cause more side effects. Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease. If you don’t know if you have kidney disease, your doctor may do a blood test to see how well your kidneys are working.

liver damage
People with liver damage

Tell your doctor if you have liver damage. They may adjust your dose or prescribe a different drug. If you don’t know if you have liver disease, your doctor can do blood tests to see how well your liver is working.

asthma
People with asthma

This drug may make your asthma symptoms worse.

pregnant woman
Pregnant women

This drug falls into one of two pregnancy categories, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

After week 30, this drug is a category D pregnancy drug. That means:

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

You shouldn’t take this drug if you’re 30 weeks pregnant or beyond.

Up until week 30, this drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Small amounts of this drug pass through breast milk, but it’s not known how the drug may affect a child who breastfeeds. Tell your doctor if you’re breastfeeding. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop using this drug.

seniors
For seniors

If you’re 65 years or older, your doctor may reduce your dose of this drug. Older adults are at higher risk of fluid buildup and side effects like ulcers, gas, bloating, or stomach pain.

children
For children

The safety and effectiveness of this drug hasn’t been established in people younger than 18 years.

allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives
SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take fenoprofen (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Osteoarthritis
Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 200 mg and 400 mg
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 600 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dose is 400–600 mg taken 3 to 4 times per day. Your doctor may change your dose depending on your pain.
  • The maximum dose should be no more than 3,200 mg per day.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years has not been established.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your body may process this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose so that too much of this drug doesn’t build up in your body.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 200 mg and 400 mg
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 600 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dose is 400–600 mg taken 3 to 4 times per day. Your doctor may change your dose depending on your pain.
  • The maximum dose should be no more than 3,200 mg per day.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years has not been established.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your body may process this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose so that too much of this drug doesn’t build up in your body.

Mild to moderate pain
Form: Oral Capsule
Strengths: 200 mg and 400 mg
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 600 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)

200 mg taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Dosage for people younger than 18 years has not been established.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your body may process this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose so that too much of this drug doesn’t build up in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed by your doctor.

If You Stop or Miss Doses

If you stop taking this medication, miss doses, or don’t take it on schedule, you may experience more pain caused by your condition.

If You Take Too Much

If you take too much of this medication, you may experience serious side effects. These include stomach problems such as bleeding and ulcers, swelling in your legs and ankles, or even heart attack or stroke.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, wait and take a single dose at the usual time. Don’t take double or extra doses.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell this drug is working if you notice a decrease in pain and swelling. Tell your doctor if your symptoms don’t get better.

This drug may be a short-term or a long-term treatment.

This drug is a short-term medication when it’s used to treat pain from a minor injury. It’s a long-term medication when used to treat arthritis.

Important considerations for taking this drug

Take this medication with food or milk

This will lower your chance of getting an upset stomach or gastrointestinal side effects, such as an ulcer.

Take your dose of this drug at regular intervals

For example, if your doctor prescribes this drug three times a day, take each dose 8 hours apart.

Store at room temperature: 68–77°F (20–25°C)

Keep the container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Note: Keep your medications away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store them away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.

Clinical monitoring

If you take this medication long term, your doctor may take a stool sample to check you for signs of bleeding from your stomach or intestines.

Your doctor may also monitor your blood pressure closely while you take this drug.

If you take this medication long term, you may have blood tests to see if you’re bleeding and to check how well your liver and kidneys are working.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does fenoprofen Cost?

Oral capsule

We've partnered with GoodRx so you can compare prices, find discounts and save up to 80% on your next prescription. Check out the low coupon prices below — no insurance required.

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Lowest price for fenoprofen

Walmart $47.81
CVS Pharmacy $64.95
Walgreens $83.23
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for fenoprofen on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for fenoprofen on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 4, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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