Difference Between Naproxen and Tramadol


Main Difference

The main difference between Naproxen and Tramadol is that Naproxen is Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and Tramadol is an opioid analgesic.

Naproxen vs. Tramadol

Naproxen belongs to Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, on the other hand, Tramadol is an opioid analgesic. Naproxen is a propionic acid compound while Tramadol is codeine derivative. Naproxen pills and suspension is available, on the other hand, Tramadol pills and capsules are available. Naproxen inhibits Cox enzyme whereas Tramadol inhibits the 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 causes an increased risk of the blood clots, on the other hand, Tramadol does not cause the increased risk of the blood clots.


Comparison Chart

Naproxen is a propionic acid compound and is a pain killer.Tramadol is a synthetic codeine analog and is a pain killer.
Drug Category
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugOpioid analgesic
Mechanism of Action
Inhibits Cox enzymeinhibits the serotonin uptake, inhibits the norepinephrine uptake
Route of Administration
Salt Name
Naproxen sodiumTramadol hydrochloride
12-17 hrs6 hrs
Effects on Mood
Naproxen does not have any type of effect on mood.Tramadol affects moods, and its effect is pleasant.
Therapeutic Uses
Reduces inflammation, Reduces Pain, Treats FeverMild to a moderate pain reliever

What is Naproxen?

Naproxen is analgesic, and it relieves pain in different ailments, which are due to inflammation. Naproxen belongs to a propionic acid class. Naproxen is classified under the drug category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Naproxen relieves headaches, tendonitis, menstrual cramps, dental pain, and aches. Naproxen reduces pain and swelling. Naproxen finds its use in reducing joint stiffness, which is mostly due to arthritis, gout attacks, and bursitis. Naproxen blocks the production of those substances which cause the inflammation, which is the reason behind most of the body pains by blocking the Cox enzymes. Naproxen sodium is important to the salt of naproxen which has good absorption. Naproxen is available as both immediate-release and delayed-release formulations. Delayed release formulations are used for chronic conditions.


Naproxen starts to show its therapeutic action in 1hr and this effect stays for roundabout 12hrs. Naproxen inhibits both Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzymes. Naproxen decreases the production of the prostaglandins, which are responsible for inflammation and leads to body pains. Naproxen is metabolized by liver enzymes, and its metabolites are inactive. Naproxen causes headache, bruising, heartburn, stomach pains, and allergic reactions as side effects. Naproxen also causes dizziness as adverse effects. The severe side effects of Naproxen are increased risk of heart disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, stroke, and stomach ulcers. Naproxen is not recommended in patients who are suffering from kidney problems. Naproxen interacts with some classes of drugs which include the diuretics, blood thinners, and antidepressants. Naproxen is not used by pregnant women in the third trimester of pregnancy.


Naproxen famous brand is Aleve.

What is Tramadol?

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

In comparison to morphine, the affinity of the Tramadol is less for the µ-opioid receptors and the affinity is only 1/6000 that of morphine. The primary metabolite of the Tramadol is two to four-time as potent as Tramadol and is named as O-demethylated metabolite. The O-demethylated metabolite also possesses some analgesic activity. Supplied Tramadol is a mixture of the racemic mixture.

The positive enantiomer of Tramadol binds to µ-opioid receptors. The positive enantiomer inhibits the serotonin uptake. The negative enantiomer inhibits the norepinephrine uptake and stimulates the alpha 2 adrenergic receptors. Tramadol is metabolized by the liver and undergoes renal excretion. The elimination half-life of the Tramadol is 6 hrs and the elimination half-life of the active metabolite is 7.5 hrs. The analgesic action of the Tramadol starts after 1 hr of oral dosing and the maximum analgesic effect can be observed after 2-3 hrs. The total duration of action of Tramadol for analgesic action is 6 hrs. Tramadol daily maximum recommended dose is 400mg. The side effects of Tramadol are nausea, dizziness, sedation, and dry mouth. Tramadol can also cause seizures.


Tramadol famous brand is Ultram.

Key Differences

  1. Naproxen is classified as the Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, on the other hand, Tramadol is classified as the opioid analgesic.
  2. Naproxen is a derivative of propionic acid while Tramadol is codeine analog.
  3. Naproxen is an inhibitor of cox, on the other hand, Tramadol inhibits the serotonin and norepinephrine uptake.
  4. Naproxen use does not lead to constipation, while Tramadol use leads to constipation.
  5. Naproxen use leads to increase risk of blood blots, on the other hand, Tramadol use does not lead to an increased risk of blood clots.
  6. Naproxen has a half-life of 12-17 hrs while Tramadol has a half-life of 6hrs.
  7. Naproxen does not affect the mood, on the other hand, Tramadol affects moods.


The conclusion of the above discussion is that both Naproxen and Tramadol are pain killers and belong to two different drug groups.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White