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asthma worsened by naproxen

BFlying profile image
14 Replies

I get seasonal and exercise induced asthma. I badly pulled the muscles in my side and shoulder last Tuesday. Since Friday, I've been taking naproxen twice a day. On Sunday, I went for a morning walk and I was so out of breath.I thought it was still because my muscles hurt to breathe. Been to the doctors today and she seems to think my symptoms tie in with starting the naproxen. She said my oxygen levels were normal but my breathing was fast...about 24 breaths a minute. She said to stop taking naproxen and I should start feeling better tomorrow. It just worries me, as I've never felt breathless as bad as this.Ventolin doesn't seem to help much,but I don't think I'm inhaling it hits my tongue or I see the vapour come out. Has anyone had any experience of naproxen or ibuprofen with asthma? Just after a little reassurance I guess

14 Replies
Gareth57 profile image

Hi, glad you weren't too bad but I think your doctor is right.

I used to be fine with naproxen/ibuprofen/aspirin until suddenly I wasn't, out of the blue I had a full blown totally debilitating attack 40 miles from home and hospital then another when someone trying to be helpful gave me some paracetamol/aspirin so I've not touched them since.

Good luck

BFlying profile image
BFlying in reply to Gareth57

I think my breathing is still fast this morning and I've been doing what I think is called stutter breathing. I read that naproxen takes 93 hours to be out of your system. I just want to feel better. I think the doctor was concerned that if it's not naproxen causing it, then maybe it's a blood clot. But I think that would be a coincidence. These symptoms started on the Monday...3 days after I started naproxen but the same day I started omeprazole. Maybe that could be the cause?

Itswonderful profile image

hi. Sorry you’re feeling so awful. Do you use ventolin with a spacer? Are you prescribed a preventer as well ?

BFlying profile image
BFlying in reply to Itswonderful

I was given a preventative but it made it worse. I've not discussed it with the doctor though. I think I should

I don't use a spacer

Bevvy profile image
Bevvy in reply to BFlying

I do think you need to discuss everything with gp. Many asthmatics can’t take ibuprofen or naproxen so wouldn’t be surprising that you had an issue. Also coincidences do happen so really gp should investigate re blood clot if they are worried. Not heard of omeprazole causing breathing issues but again gp should be made aware.

If breathing issues continue or worsened you should contact 111 if can’t get gp appointment. Certainly by this time there would be no more gp appointments left for the day!

Poobah profile image

Aspirin was the family go to painkiller and I took it without a problem for years. But I then had a really bad reaction to it; I looked like I'd gone several rounds with a boxer & my breathing was laboured. I now avoid Aspirin, ibuprofen & all NSAIDs. I've always suffered from asthma, so the aspirin thing only suddenly developed in my mid twenties.

Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease is not that uncommon for asthmatics but reactions vary. It's also known as Samters Triad or just Aspirin Sensitivity. For all the latest research, dietary advice etc this website is the best,

My consultant swapped me to dry powder inhalers and that transformed my asthma control overnight. I was always in & out of hospital but have had no emergency admissions since. Apparently the propellant in my aerosol inhalers had been an asthma trigger for years, and this is AERD related.

The NHS dietician gave me a list of salicylate rich foods to avoid, but it's now known that Omega 6 rich foods are more of a trigger for AERD sufferers. I didn't know that for years and had a very bad reaction to soya milk, similar to your current symptoms. Unfortunately, soya and palm oil are key in the modern food industry, but they are high omega 6 foods. I now avoid processed foods and cook only with grass fed butter or coconut oil.

I also developed nasal polyps in my 30s, but I was never told by my doctors that this is also AERD related. Not everyone develops polyps, but getting the right treatmentis key. I've now got tinnitus and also get vertigo occasionally, again AERD related but many doctors are unaware of the link even though they know that NSAID sensitivity can be a trigger for asthma.

My respiratory clinic still doesn't screen patients for AERD, but over the years I've worked with 4 other asthmatics and 3 of them were AERD sufferers and all had to wait years to be diagnosed, despite being regulars of respiratory consultants. Diagnosis is usually made by ENT despite the asthma platform. One colleague was diagnosed after being referred by her asthma consultant to The Royal Brompton allergy clinic. So diagnosis can be a lottery and full marks to your doctor for spotting your NSAID intolerance.

Changing to a dry powder version of Ventolin may help your ongoing symptoms.

stones93 profile image

It's a not uncommon reaction in asthmatics. I cannot take any NSAIDS or aspirin as they make my asthma worse.......not straight away but after a few doses and it then takes some days or weeks to recover.

BFlying profile image
BFlying in reply to stones93

I've always been fine with ibuprofen...but I've never taken it regularly...just the odd dose for a headache or period pain

BFlying profile image

also when I cough, it is a bit productive.

BFlying profile image

forgot to add that when I bend over then straighten up...I feel this wheezy bubbly sensation in the bottom left of my lung. Is this an asthma symptom?

jenroseuk profile image

Hi, I am asking you to be very careful. I had an extremely severe reaction to aspirin. The reaction began after I had pleurisy following the Hong Kong flu with wheezing, until I started with pleurisy and then chest infection I had not had asthma before. My husband noticed that every time I had aspirin I got wheezing. I did not see the connection at the time but did stop taking aspirin. A few years later I had a migraine that had lasted 5 days and there was only aspirin in the cupboard and I thought it has been about 3 years since I had taken aspirin so would try one. Only a few minutes after taking it I had the most horrendous broncho spasm and had to repeatedly puff the inhaler in to my mouth until eventually my airways opened and then it was very painful and the wheezing extremely loud for a long time. I did not have a telephone but if did have one would not have been able to say anything as could not breath in or out and then too wheezy but when did go to the doctor he said to never take aspirin again. I discovered that it is not just aspirn but have to ALL NSAIDS. What was also scarey is that when I was talking to a practice nurse about my frozen shoulder at the time she suggested taking aspirn and I said I cannot take aspirin. She said I could take ibrufen and I said it was an NSAID so could not and she argued with me saying it was an anti-inflammatory and not aspirn. It is anti-inflammatory but is still aspirin like but she did not ask what happened when I took aspirin. When I was talking with friends and said about the nurse recommended ibrufen saying it was anti-inflammatory one of the friends had been a receptionist at a pharmacy and said the nurse was right and she also had not asked what happened when I took aspirin. I felt I was near death that day and it is so scarey to think people don't think aspirin is a serious allergy. I was at a talk put on by an asthma charity and they had a guest speaker who himself had an extreme allergy to aspirin and talked about that so please do take this seriously and do not take any NSAIDS. I am okay with paracetomal and codeine.

BFlying profile image
BFlying in reply to jenroseuk

don't worry...I'm never gonna touch an nsaid ever again! I'm taking it easy today and not exerting myself. I've been taking some deep breaths and I've got a bit of a productive cough. It's all coming from the left lung...the side I had my injury. I wonder if because i was unable to take deep breaths during the first few days, due to horrendous pain...I wasn't fully inflating my lungs and they need to recover. Plus the horrible naproxen. Great pain relief but never again

Lysistrata profile image

As others have said, NSAIDs like naproxen are a known issue for people with asthma - it doesn't affect everyone with asthma of course but it definitely can be a trigger and it sounds like it is for you. At the same time of course do keep an eye on things and go back to your doctor/seek more urgent help if your breathing isn't improving. I'm glad to hear that your doctor wasn't hung up on oxygen levels, as it's sadly too common for people to be wrongly told their asthma isn't an issue because oxygen sats are ok/no wheeze!

As a separate issue, I definitely think you need to discuss trying a different preventer with your doctor as the one you tried didn't seem to help - you will need to give it a while to kick in though. I also think a spacer might be helpful as you said the medication wasn't getting in. If the preventer you get is the same type of inhaler as the Ventolin inhaler (the spray version, metered dose inhaler or MDI) then it's also worth using a spacer for that. You can ask to go through how to use any new inhaler when it's prescribed, with either whoever prescribes it or the pharmacist when you collect it.

BFlying profile image
BFlying in reply to Lysistrata

thankyou. My breathing doesn't seem as bad today, but I've been resting at home. I still have a dry throat and a bit of congestion...but I'm hoping as time goes on, it will subside. I'm going to do an econsult next after this experience (which has been quite scarey)...I want to get it sorted. I must say everyone on here has been very helpful...what a great community.

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