Efficacy of naproxen sodium for exercise-induced dysfunction muscle injury and soreness

Clin J Sport Med. 1997 Jan;7(1):3-10. doi: 10.1097/00042752-199701000-00002.


Objective: To examine the efficacy of naproxen sodium for exercise-induced dysfunction, muscle injury, and soreness.

Design: Double-blind crossover.

Setting: Community.

Participants: Eight young adult, healthy males.

Interventions: Ten sets of seven to 10 eccentric actions with each quadriceps femoris with a load equal to 85% of the eccentric one repetition maximum (1RM) followed by 10 days of naproxen sodium or placebo.

Main outcome measures: Concentric 1RM; cross-sectional area (CSA) and spin-spin relaxation time (T2) of quadriceps femoris, and subjective rating of thigh soreness pre- and 1, 4, and 10 days postexercise; subjective rating of ability to sleep or perform morning activities daily during recovery.

Results: Concentric 1RM was reduced by (p = 0.0001) 41% day 1 of recovery; by day 4 of recovery, it had increased (p = 0.0145) to 24% below baseline in the drug trial, but did not change for the placebo trial. By day 10 of recovery, concentric 1RM was 16 and 26% below (p = 0.0001) baseline for the drug and placebo trials, respectively. Quadriceps femoris CSA and T2 were increased (p < or = 0.0250) after exercise, with the greatest (p = 0.0008) responses evident on day 4 of recovery. At this time, each variable showed greater increases (p < or = 0.0129) for the placebo than for the drug trial 8 vs. 5 and 26 vs. 15%, respectively). The CSA of the quadriceps femoris showing an elevated T2 was 27 and 37% greater (p < or = 0.0085) for the placebo than for the drug trial on days 1 and 4 of recovery, respectively. The percentage of quadriceps femoris CSA with an elevated T2 (40%) was 1/3 greater (p < or = 0.0138) for the placebo than for the drug trial on these days. Thigh soreness was lower (day 4, p = 0.0087) and the ability to sleep or perform morning activities was less (p < or = 0.0030) compromised (days 3 and 4) during recovery in the drug trial.

Conclusions: The results suggest that naproxen sodium improved recovery after eccentrically biased exercise, probably by attenuating expression of the inflammatory response to muscle injury.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Naproxen / administration & dosage
  • Naproxen / therapeutic use*
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Tensile Strength / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Naproxen