Q. Why is Naproxen not working for my headache?

Answered by
Dr. J Mariano Anto Bruno Mascarenhas
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 25, 2016 and last reviewed on: May 19, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am suffering from unilateral headache for the last two months. I had an eye examination and that was fine. My blood tests were all normal. I have seen three doctors, my GP and two hospital doctors, who all say it is likely a benign headache or tension-type headache of some description. I have no other symptoms other than the pain. I was prescribed Naproxen 500 mg twice daily which helped for two weeks. Pain came back a week after stopping Naproxen, but more mild than before. Then went away for five days and returned. Now, Naproxen does not seem to help at all. Doctors have not been concerned enough to give me a scan, because I have no other symptoms and just the pain. Again, this has been going on for two months now and even on pain-free days while on naproxen I have still had brief one second flashes of pain at least a couple of times a day. I have no sickness or nausea or dizziness. I do not have a history of migraine.There is no pain behind my eye or tearing. I also have no anxiety or tension issues in my personal life to attribute to a headache. The pain is in my left temporal area. I feel some pressure, pinching pain and tightness. Sometimes, it is in the inner ear and sometimes I have pain on the top left of my head. Before I started the Naproxen, it was at its worst at bedtime when I laid down, but I slept pain free for a month while on the Naproxen. The pain is quite mild, but persistent. So, it is very annoying and always on my mind now that the Naproxen does not seem to work at all and I cannot rely on it for relief. Why would naproxen suddenly stop working? Should I be concerned that I have a sinister condition?


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Dr. J Mariano Anto Bruno Mascarenhas

Neuro Surgery Neurology Spine Health Spine Surgery


Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • Naproxen is no longer helping because the enzymes in your liver has learnt to degrade the drug quickly. It usually happens when you take such drugs for a longer time.
  • Since there is no vomiting, you can wait till your next scheduled visit. If there is vomiting, then you have to go emergency room immediately and do the following on emergency basis.
  1. Fundus examination.
  2. MRI brain.
  3. EEG (electroencephalography).

For further doubts consult a neurologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/neurologist

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