Difference Between Naproxen and Tramadol

Main difference

The main difference between naproxen and tramadol is that naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and tramadol is an opioid pain reliever.

Naproxen vs Tramadol

Naproxen belongs to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, on the other hand, tramadol is an opioid analgesic. Naproxen is a propionic acid compound, while tramadol is a codeine derivative. Naproxen pills and suspension are available, on the other hand, Tramadol pills and capsules are available. Naproxen inhibits the Cox enzyme while tramadol inhibits serotonin and norepinephrine uptake. Naproxen relieves inflammation, pain, and fever. On the other hand, Tramadol relieves mild to moderate pain. Naproxen is not an addictive drug while Tramadol is an addictive drug. Naproxen does not affect moods, on the other hand Tramadol affects moods. Naproxen does not cause constipation, while tramadol causes constipation. Naproxen increases the risk of blood clots; on the other hand, tramadol does not increase the risk of blood clots.

Comparison chart

Naproxen Tramadol
Naproxen is a propionic acid compound and is a pain reliever. Tramadol is a synthetic analog of codeine and is an analgesic.
drug category
Steroid-free anti-inflammatory drug opioid analgesic
Mechanism of action
Inhibits the Cox enzyme inhibits serotonin uptake, inhibits norepinephrine uptake
Administration route
Oral Oral
salt name
naproxen sodium Tramadol hydrochloride
Half life
12-17 hours 6 hours
effects on mood
Naproxen does not have any kind of effect on mood. Tramadol affects moods and its effect is pleasant.
therapeutic uses
Reduces inflammation, reduces pain, treats fever Mild to moderate pain reliever
What is naproxen?

Naproxen is an analgesic and relieves pain in different ailments that are due to inflammation. Naproxen belongs to a class of propionic acid. Naproxen falls under the category of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Naproxen relieves headaches, tendinitis, menstrual cramps, dental pain, and aches. Naproxen reduces pain and swelling. Naproxen is used to reduce joint stiffness, which is mainly due to arthritis, gout attacks, and bursitis. Naproxen blocks the production of those substances that cause inflammation, which is the cause of most body pain, by blocking Cox enzymes. Naproxen sodium is important for naproxen salt which has good absorption. Naproxen is available in immediate-release and delayed-release formulations. Delayed release formulations are used for chronic diseases.

Naproxen begins to show its therapeutic action within 1 hour and this effect lasts for around 12 hours. Naproxen inhibits the enzymes Cox-1 and Cox-2. Naproxen decreases the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for inflammation and cause body pain. Naproxen is metabolized by liver enzymes and its metabolites are inactive. Naproxen causes headache, bruising, heartburn, stomach aches, and allergic reactions as side effects. Naproxen also causes dizziness as side effects. Serious side effects of naproxen are an increased risk of heart disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, stroke, and stomach ulcers. Naproxen is not recommended in patients with kidney problems.


The famous brand name naproxen is Aleve.

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a synthetic codeine analog. Tramadol acts on µ-opioid receptors. Tramadol is a weak agonist at µ-opioid receptors. For the treatment of mild to moderate pain, tramadol is considered as effective as morphine and meperidine. For the treatment of severe pain, tramadol is less effective than morphine and meperidine. For the treatment of labor pain, Tramadol is as effective as meperidine and also has the advantage over meperidine treatment in causing less neonatal respiratory depression. Tramadol produces its analgesic effect by inhibiting the uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. When tramadol is administered orally, its bioavailability is 68% after a single dose. When tramadol is administered intramuscularly, it is 100% bioavailable.

Compared to morphine, the affinity of Tramadol is lower for µ-opioid receptors and the affinity is only 1/6000 that of morphine. The main metabolite of Tramadol is two to four times more potent than Tramadol and is called the O-demethylated metabolite. The O-demethylated metabolite also has some analgesic activity. The supplied tramadol is a mixture of the racemic mixture.

The positive enantiomer of Tramadol binds to µ-opioid receptors. The positive enantiomer inhibits serotonin uptake. The negative enantiomer inhibits norepinephrine uptake and stimulates alpha 2 adrenergic receptors. Tramadol is metabolized in the liver and excreted by the kidneys. The elimination half-life of tramadol is 6 hours and the elimination half-life of the active metabolite is 7.5 hours. The analgesic action of Tramadol begins after 1 hour of oral administration and the maximum analgesic effect can be observed after 2-3 hours. The total duration of action of Tramadol for analgesic action is 6 hours. The maximum recommended daily dose of tramadol is 400 mg. Side effects of Tramadol are nausea, dizziness, sedation, and dry mouth.


The famous Tramadol brand is Ultram.

Key differences

  1. Naproxen is classified as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, on the other hand, tramadol is classified as opioid analgesic.
  2. Naproxen is a derivative of propionic acid, while tramadol is an analog of codeine.
  3. Naproxen is a cox inhibitor, on the other hand, Tramadol inhibits serotonin and norepinephrine uptake.
  4. The use of naproxen does not cause constipation, while the use of tramadol causes constipation.
  5. The use of naproxen increases the risk of blood staining, on the other hand, the use of tramadol does not increase the risk of blood clots.
  6. Naproxen has a half-life of 12 to 17 hours, while tramadol has a half-life of 6 hours.
  7. Naproxen does not affect mood, on the other hand, Tramadol affects mood.

Final Thoughts

The conclusion from the above discussion is that both naproxen and tramadol are pain relievers and belong to two different drug groups.

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