Clinical author's note Michael Stewart 10/02/2020: Fenopron® tablets were discontinued in the UK in October 2017. At the time of review there are no branded or generic products containing fenoprofen available in the UK. Fenoprofen may still be available in other countries. This medicine leaflet is based on medical information available in the UK at the time of writing and is left here for reference purposes. Please also refer to the manufacturer's information supplied with your medicine.
Fenoprofen is a medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is also known as 'an NSAID'.
Before you take fenoprofen, let your doctor know if you have ever had a bad reaction to any other anti-inflammatory painkiller.
Take fenoprofen tablets with food.
|Type of medicine||A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)|
|Used for||Relief of pain and inflammation, particularly in arthritis and other muscle and joint conditions|
|Also called||Nalfon® (in US); Fenopron® (discontinued)|
Anti-inflammatory painkillers like fenoprofen are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or sometimes just 'anti-inflammatories'. Fenoprofen is used to treat painful rheumatic conditions such as arthritis, and sprains and strains. It eases pain and reduces inflammation.
Fenoprofen works by blocking the effect of natural chemicals called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These enzymes help to make other chemicals in the body, called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are produced at sites of injury or damage, and cause pain and inflammation. By blocking the effect of COX enzymes, fewer prostaglandins are produced, which means pain and inflammation are eased.
Before taking fenoprofen
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking fenoprofen, it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have ever had a stomach or duodenal ulcer, or if you have an inflammatory bowel disorder such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
- If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breastfeeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or if you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have a heart condition or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have any blood clotting problems.
- If you have high blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
- If you have a connective tissue disorder such as systemic lupus erythematosus. This is an inflammatory condition which is also called lupus or SLE.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and indometacin), or to any other medicine.
How to take fenoprofen
- Before you start taking fenoprofen, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the tablets and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking them.
- Take fenoprofen exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose for adults is 300-600 mg (one or two tablets), three or four times daily.
- Take fenoprofen with food. This will help to protect your stomach from side-effects such as indigestion.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless your next dose is due. If your next dose is due then take the dose which is due but leave out the forgotten one. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Your doctor will try to prescribe you the lowest dose for the shortest time to reduce the risk of side-effects. If you need to take fenoprofen for a long time, your doctor may also want to prescribe another medicine for you to take along with fenoprofen to protect your stomach from irritation.
- Try to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress, and is especially important if you are taking fenoprofen for a long-term condition.
- If you have asthma, symptoms such as wheeze or breathlessness can be made worse by anti-inflammatories such as fenoprofen. If this happens to you, you should stop taking fenoprofen and see your doctor as soon as possible.
- There is known to be a small increased risk of heart and blood vessel problems in people taking some anti-inflammatory painkillers long-term. Your doctor will explain this to you and will prescribe the lowest suitable dose for the shortest time in order to reduce the risk. Do not take more than the recommended dose.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. This is because you should not take fenoprofen with any other anti-inflammatory painkiller, some of which are available in cold and flu remedies which can be bought 'over the counter'.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Can fenoprofen cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the more common ones associated with fenoprofen. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Fenoprofen side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain||Remember to take your doses with food. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor|
|Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), diarrhoea||Stick to simple meals. Drink plenty of liquid to replace any lost fluids|
Important: if you experience any of the following less frequent but possibly serious symptoms, stop taking fenoprofen and contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- If you have any breathing difficulties such as wheeze or breathlessness.
- If you have any signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling around your mouth or face, or a severe itchy skin rash.
- If you pass blood or black stools, bring up (vomit) blood, or have severe stomach pains.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store fenoprofen
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading and references
British National Formulary; 72nd Edition (Sep 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London