Diclofenac is used to relieve pain, swelling (inflammation), and joint stiffness caused by arthritis. Reducing these symptoms helps you do more of your normal daily activities. This medication is known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This long-acting medication is not intended to relieve sudden severe pain because it starts working slowly.
If you are treating a chronic condition such as arthritis, ask your doctor about non-drug treatments and/or using other medications to treat your pain. See also Warning section.
Voltaren may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using diclofenac and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water (8 ounces / 240 milliliters) unless your doctor directs you otherwise, usually once daily. Do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking this drug. To prevent stomach upset, take this medication with food, milk, or an antacid.
Do not crush or chew this medication. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
There are different brands and forms of this medication available. Because different brands deliver different amounts of medication, do not switch brands of diclofenac without your doctor's permission and directions.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). To minimize side effect risks (such as stomach bleeding), use this medication at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible length of time. Do not increase your dose or take it more often than prescribed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day. It may take up to 2 weeks of regular use before the full benefits of this drug take effect.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens.
You should not use Voltaren if you have a history of allergic reaction to aspirin or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Voltaren can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Even people without heart disease or risk factors could have a stroke or heart attack while taking this medicine.
Voltaren may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using Voltaren, especially in older adults.
Before taking diclofenac, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to aspirin or other NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: asthma (including a history of worsening breathing after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs), bleeding or clotting problems, growths in the nose (nasal polyps), heart disease (such as previous heart attack), high blood pressure, liver disease, stomach/intestinal/esophagus problems (such as bleeding, ulcers, recurring heartburn), stroke.
Kidney problems can sometimes occur with the use of NSAID medications, including diclofenac. Problems are more likely to occur if you are dehydrated, have heart failure or kidney disease, are an older adult, or if you take certain medications (see also Drug Interactions section). Drink plenty of fluids as directed by your doctor to prevent dehydration and tell your doctor right away if you have a change in the amount of urine.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
This medicine may cause stomach bleeding. Daily use of alcohol and tobacco, especially when combined with this medicine, may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcohol and stop smoking. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially stomach/intestinal bleeding, kidney problems, and worsening heart problems.
Before using this medication, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the benefits and risks (such as miscarriage, trouble getting pregnant). Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It is not recommended for use during the first and last trimesters of pregnancy due to possible harm to the unborn baby and interference with normal labor/delivery.
This drug passes into breast milk. While there have been no reports of harm to nursing infants, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Upset stomach, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, gas, headache, drowsiness, and dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears), mental/mood changes, difficult/painful swallowing, symptoms of heart failure (such as swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain).
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), unexplained stiff neck.
This drug may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, including: dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting/loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes or skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with food and with a full glass of water. Do not crush or chew the medicine. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Long-term, continuous use may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
Elderly patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Tell your doctor or health care professional if your pain does not get better. Talk to your doctor before taking another medicine for pain. Do not treat yourself.
This medicine does not prevent heart attack or stroke. In fact, this medicine may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke. The chance may increase with longer use of this medicine and in people who have heart disease. If you take aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke, talk with your doctor or health care professional.
Do not take medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen with this medicine. Side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, or ulcers may be more likely to occur. Many medicines available without a prescription should not be taken with this medicine.
This medicine can cause ulcers and bleeding in the stomach and intestines at any time during treatment. Do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. These increase irritation to your stomach and can make it more susceptible to damage from this medicine. Ulcers and bleeding can happen without warning symptoms and can cause death.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.
This medicine can cause you to bleed more easily. Try to avoid damage to your teeth and gums when you brush or floss your teeth.