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- What is diclofenac, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for diclofenac?
- Is diclofenac available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for diclofenac?
- What are the side effects of diclofenac?
- What is the dosage for diclofenac?
- Is diclofenac safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about diclofenac?
What is diclofenac, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Diclofenac belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. Other members of this class include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Aleve) and several others. NSAIDs work by reducing the production of prostaglandins, chemicals that cause pain, fever and inflammation. NSAIDs block the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower production of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. Since the response to different NSAIDs varies from patient to patient, it is not unusual for a doctor to try different NSAIDs for any given condition. The FDA approved diclofenac in July 1998.
What brand names are available for diclofenac?
Voltaren, Cataflam, Voltaren-XR, Cambia, Zipsor, Zorvolex
What are the side effects of diclofenac?
The most common side effects of diclofenac involve the gastrointestinal system, such as:
- abdominal burning,
- serious gastrointestinal bleeding, and
- liver toxicity.
Sometimes, stomach ulceration and bleeding can occur without any abdominal pain. Black tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing may be the only signs of internal bleeding. Rash, kidney impairment, ringing in the ears, and lightheadedness are also seen.
Other important side effects include:
People who are allergic to other NSAIDs should not use diclofenac. NSAIDs reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys and impair function of the kidneys. The impairment is most likely to occur in patients with already reduced kidney function or congestive heart failure, and use of NSAIDs in these patients should be done cautiously. Individuals with asthma are more likely to experience allergic reactions to diclofenac and other NSAIDs.
Quick GuideOsteoarthritis (OA): Treatment, Symptoms, Diagnosis
What is the dosage for diclofenac?
Diclofenac should be taken with food to reduce stomach upset. The recommended dose for most conditions is 100-200 mg daily. Dosing intervals are 2 to 4 times daily depending on the diclofenac formulation used and the condition being treated.
Is diclofenac safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
It is not known whether diclofenac is excreted in breast milk.
What else should I know about diclofenac?
What preparations of diclofenac are available?
Tablets (delayed release): 25, 50 and 75 mg. Tablets (immediate release): 50 mg. Tablets (extended release): 100 mg. Capsule: 25 mg. Oral Solution: 50 mg
How should I keep diclofenac stored?
Diclofenac should not be stored above 30 C (86 F) and should be protected from moisture.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, Voltaren-XR, Cambia) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication prescribed to treat inflammation and pain caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendinitis, bursitis, and menstrual cramps. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing...
Bursitis of the knee results when any of the three fluid-filled sacs (bursae) become inflamed due to injury or strain. Symptoms...
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Trigger Finger (Stenosing Tenosynovitis)
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Treatment & Diagnosis
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- Medication Disposal - What to Do with Old or Unusable Medication
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Medications & Supplements
- flurbiprofen (Ansaid is a discontinued brand)
- sulindac, Clinoril
- diflunisal, Dolobid
- piroxicam, Feldene
- etodolac, Lodine (Discontinued)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- fenoprofen, Nalfon
- choline magnesium salicylate, Trilisate
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- celecoxib, Celebrex
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Daily Health News
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top diclofenac Related ArticlesComplete List
Ankle Pain and TendinitisAnkle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within 24 hours) to severe (which can require surgical repair). Tendinitis of the ankle can be caused by trauma or inflammation.
Ankylosing SpondylitisAnkylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited. Treatment incorporates medications, physical therapy, and exercise.
Ankylosing SpondylitisWhat is ankylosing spondylitis? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful disorder.
Elbow PainElbow pain is most often the result of tendinitis, which can affect the inner or outer elbow. Treatment includes ice, rest, and medication for inflammation. Inflammation, redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness, and decreased range of motion are other symptoms associated with elbow pain. Treatment for elbow pain depends upon the nature of the patient's underlying disease or condition.
Gout (Gouty Arthritis)Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and redness, typically of a single joint. Gout may be treated with diet and lifestyle changes, as well as medication.
Heel SpursHeel spurs -- pointed, bony outgrowths of the heel -- are caused by localized soft-tissue inflammation and can be located at the back of the heel or under the heel, beneath the sole of the foot. Heel spurs are treated with ice application and anti-inflammatory medications. Orthotics may also provide some relief.
Knee BursitisBursitis of the knee results when any of the three fluid-filled sacs (bursae) become inflamed due to injury or strain. Symptoms include pain, swelling, warmth, tenderness, and redness. Treatment of knee bursitis depends on whether infection is involved. If the knee bursa is not infected, knee bursitis may be treated with ice compresses, rest, and antiinflammatory and pain medications.
Liver Blood TestsAn initial step in detecting liver damage is a simple blood test to determine the presence of certain liver enzymes in the blood. Under normal circumstances, these enzymes reside within the cells of the liver. But when the liver is injured, these enzymes are spilled into the blood stream, and can lead to diseases like fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hepatitis. Several medications also can increase liver enzyme test results.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and UlcersNonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed medications for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and more. One common side effect of NSAIDs is peptic ulcer (ulcers of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum). Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking NSAIDs.
OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also known as degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis can be caused by aging, heredity, and injury from trauma or disease.
Take the RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
Shoulder BursitisShoulder bursitis is inflammation of the shoulder bursa. Bursitis may be caused by injury, infection, or a rheumatic condition. Symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, and pain with movement of the shoulder joint. Treatment may involve ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications and depends on whether there is an infection.