Health Guide
Drug Guide

Diclofenac (Topical application route)

Pronunciation:

dye-KLOE-fen-ak

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Warnings:

Topical route(Gel/Jelly;Solution)

NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may occur early in treatment and may increase with duration of use. Diclofenac sodium is contraindicated in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft surgery. NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients and patients with a prior history of peptic ulcer disease and/or GI bleeding are at greater risk for serious GI events .

Topical application route(Patch, Extended Release)

NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may occur early in treatment and may increase with duration of use. Diclofenac epolamine is contraindicated in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft surgery. NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients and patients with a prior history of peptic ulcer disease and/or GI bleeding are at greater risk for serious GI events .

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Anti-Inflammatory

Pharmacologic

NSAID

Chemical

Acetic Acid (class)

Uses of This Medicine:

Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and other symptoms of arthritis of the joints (eg, osteoarthritis), such as inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. However, this medicine does not cure osteoarthritis and will help you only as long as you continue to use it.

Diclofenac topical 3% gel is also used to treat actinic keratosis, a skin problem that may become cancerous if not treated. The exact way that topical diclofenac helps this condition is unknown.

Diclofenac topical solution is used to treat pain and swelling caused by osteoarthritis of the knees.

Diclofenac topical patch is used to treat acute pain caused by minor strains, sprains, and contusions (bruises).

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of diclofenac topical in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Older adults

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of diclofenac topical in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, heart, or stomach problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving diclofenac topical.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
1st TrimesterCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.
2nd TrimesterCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.
3rd TrimesterDStudies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.

Breast-feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Keep using this medicine for the full time of treatment. However, do not use this medicine more often or for a longer time than your doctor ordered. This medicine is not for long-term use.

This medicine comes with a Medication Guide and patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

To use the skin patch:

To use the topical gel:

To use the topical solution:

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

If you forget to wear or change a patch, put one on as soon as you can. If it is almost time to put on your next patch, wait until then to apply a new patch and skip the one you missed. Do not apply extra patches to make up for a missed dose.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

After removing a used patch, fold the patch in half with the sticky sides together. Make sure to dispose of it out of the reach of children and pets.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to make sure this medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to use it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

This medicine may raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This is more likely in people who already have heart disease. People who use this medicine for a long time might also have a higher risk.

This medicine may cause bleeding in your stomach or intestines. These problems can happen without warning signs. This is more likely if you have had a stomach ulcer in the past, if you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, are over 60 years of age, are in poor health, or are using certain other medicines (such as a steroid medicine or a blood thinner).

Serious skin reactions can occur during treatment with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms while using this medicine: blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.

Some possible warning signs of serious side effects that can occur during treatment with this medicine may include black, tarry stools, decreased urination, severe stomach pain, skin rash, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual weight gain, vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds, or yellow skin or eyes. Also, signs of serious heart problems could occur such as chest pain, tightness in the chest, fast or irregular heartbeat, unusual flushing or warmth of skin, weakness, or slurring of speech. Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any of these warning signs.

This medicine may cause a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Although this is rare, it may occur more often in patients who are allergic to aspirin or to any of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. The most serious signs of this reaction are very fast or irregular breathing, gasping for breath, or fainting. Other signs may include changes in color of the skin of the face, very fast but irregular heartbeat or pulse, hive-like swellings on the skin, and puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes. If these effects occur, get emergency help at once.

It is important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant before using this medicine. Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Do not use this medicine during the latter part of a pregnancy unless your doctor tells you to.

If your symptoms become worse, check with your doctor.

Diclofenac may cause redness, soreness, scaling, and peeling of the affected skin. Do not stop using this medicine without first checking with your doctor. If the reaction is very uncomfortable, check with your doctor.

While using this medicine, your skin may become more sensitive to sunlight than usual, and too much sunlight may increase the effects of the medicine. During this period of time:

If you have a severe reaction from the sun, check with your doctor.

Before having any kind of surgery or medical tests, tell your doctor that you are using this medicine. It may be necessary for you to stop treatment for awhile, or to change to a different nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug before your procedure.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Application site reactions, including skin rash, pain, tingling, or burning sensation
flu-like syndrome (body ache, headache, fever, with or without chills)
itching skin
Less common or rare
Blood in the urine
cough
dry, itching, or burning eyes
eye pain
headaches, including migraines
increased sensitivity of the skin
nasal congestion
pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
redness of the skin
redness or swelling of the eyes
skin rash other than at the application site
sore throat
tightness in the chest
troubled breathing
ulcers or sores on the skin, other than at the application site

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Burning skin
dry skin
scaly skin
thickened skin
tingling skin
Less common
Acne
back pain
belching
bleeding skin
chest pain
diarrhea
heartburn
indigestion
joint pain
lack or loss of strength
loss or thinning of the hair
muscle pain
neck pain
runny nose
stomach upset or pain

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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