Diclofenac is in a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This drug works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body otherwise known as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Diclofenac is used to reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness caused by many conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual cramps, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Before taking this diclofenac, tell your doctor if you have: allergy to aspirin or any other NSAIDs,; an ulcer or stomach bleeding; drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a day; liver disease; kidney disease; bleeding disorder; congestive heart failure, water retention; heart disease, or high blood pressure. You may not be able to take diclofenac, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the aforementioned conditions. In order to lessen stomach upset, take diclofenac with milk, food, or an antacid.
Diclofenac is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby but it should not be taken in the third trimester of pregnancy because a similar drug is known to affect the baby's heart. Diclofenac also passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing infant. Do not take this medicine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby or if you are pregnant.
Seek medical attention immediately if there are any suspected overdose symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, seizures, sweating, numbness or tingling, little or no urine production, and slow breathing.
Avoid the following while taking diclofenac: 1. Prolonged exposure to sunlight because diclofenac may increase the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. If it is unavoidable to be exposed to the sun then use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing. 2. Alcohol use especially if you drink more than three alcoholic beverages a day, diclofenac may increase the risk of dangerous stomach bleeding.
Immediately contact your doctor if you have dangerous signs such as blood in vomit or bloody, black, or tarry stools. These symptoms could indicate damage to the stomach or intestinal lining. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking diclofenac and seek emergency medical attention: allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); muscle cramps, numbness, or tingling; ulcers or mouth sores; increase weight gain; seizures; decreased hearing or ringing in the ears; yellowing of the skin and eyes; or abdominal cramping, indigestion, or heartburn.
Other, less serious side effects which are more likely to occur are the following: dizziness or headache; nausea, diarrhea, or constipation; depression; fatigue or weakness; dry mouth; or irregular menstrual cycle. In this instance, you may continue taking diclofenac but inform your doctor.
Discuss with your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs: aspirin or another salicylate (form of aspirin) such as salsalate (Disalcid), diflunisal (Dolobid), choline salicylate-magnesium salicylate (Trilisate, Tricosal), and magnesium salicylate (Doan's); another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as etodolac (Lodine), fenoprofen (Nalfon), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen (Orudis, Orudis KT), ketorolac (Toradol), meloxicam (Mobic), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox), oxaprozin (Daypro), piroxicam (Feldene), sulindac (Clinoril), or tolmetin (Tolectin); an over-the-counter cough, cold, allergy, or pain medicine that contains aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, or ketoprofen; a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin); a steroid such as prednisone (Deltasone); insulin or an oral diabetes medicine such as glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase); probenecid (Benemid); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); or bismuth subsalicylate in drugs such as Pepto-Bismol. If you are taking any of the medicines listed above then you may not be able to take diclofenac or may need special monitoring or dosage adjustment. Other drugs not listed here may affect diclofenac so be careful before taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.
The inactive ingredients in Voltaren include: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, iron oxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, methacrylic acid copolymer, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, propylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, sodium starch glycolate, talc, titanium dioxide, D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake (25-mg tablet only), FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake (50-mg tablet only).
Diclofenac has the following structural formula: