Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
What are diclofenac’s uses?
Diclofenac is used in several forms to reduce inflammation, swelling and ease pain, depending on the condition being treated. Its mechanism of action is to reduce the substances in the body that cause inflammation, and by extension, pain.
It is used to treat rheumatic conditions such as arthritis, and a range of other conditions including gout, migraine, fever and certain conditions that require pain management, such as dental and post-operative pain.
For over-the-counter use, the tablets may be used only for acute, short term inflammatory conditions such as sports injuries and gout.
The drug can be applied topically as a cream or gel, or taken orally in tablet form. It can also be prescribed by a doctor to be used rectally (as a suppository).
What dosage should you take?
The typical dosage for adults is 25 to 50mg three times a day for short-term pain management.
You should not exceed a maximum total dose of 150mg per day.
Topically the cream or gel may be applied three times daily to the affected muscle or joint area.
What special precautions should you take?
- Make sure to give your medical history to your doctor or Clicks pharmacist before taking diclofenac.
- In the elderly, low doses at longer intervals should be used.
- Smaller doses should be given to children. Consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist.
- During pregnancy, it is best to avoid the use of diclofenac especially in your third trimester, as it could adversely impact you and/or your unborn child. NSAIDs are not recommended for pregnant women, unless your doctor has determined that the benefits outweigh the risks.
- If you’re breastfeeding, know that the amount of diclofenac excreted in your milk is considered too small to harm your infant.
Diclofenac should be avoided if you have the following conditions:
- Hypersensitivity to NSAIDs
- An active ulcer
- In the case of rectal diclofenac treatment, avoid if you have haemorrhoids
Diclofenac should be used with caution if you have the following conditions:
- Impaired liver or kidney function
- An ulcer or dyspepsia (now or in the past)
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Heart disease
- A bleeding disorder
- Nasal polyps (nasal growths)
- Porphyria (a group of rare genetic disorders that affect mainly the skin or nervous system)
What drug interactions could you experience?
To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.
What are diclofenac’s side effects?
Side effects could include:
- Skin rash
- Rectal suppositories may cause rectal irritation
This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.
What are the overdose symptoms?
Call a doctor or ambulance immediately if you notice the following symptoms:
- Tinitus (ringing in the ears)
- Numbness and tingling
- Severe drowsiness