People who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (other than aspirin) such as diclofenac may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than people who do not take these medications. These events may happen without warning and may cause death. This risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time. Do not take an NSAID such as diclofenac if you have recently had a heart attack, unless directed to do so by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, if you smoke, and if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Get emergency medical help right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part or side of the body, or slurred speech.
If you will be undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG; a type of heart surgery), you should not take diclofenac right before or right after the surgery.
NSAIDs such as diclofenac may cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach or intestine. These problems may develop at any time during treatment, may happen without warning symptoms, and may cause death. The risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time, are older in age, have poor health, or drink large amounts of alcohol while taking diclofenac. Tell your doctor if you take any of the following medications: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); aspirin; other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); oral steroids such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Rayos); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra, in Symbyax), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva), and sertraline (Zoloft); or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as desvenlafaxine (Khedezla, Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and venlafaxine (Effexor XR). Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had ulcers, bleeding in your stomach or intestines, or other bleeding disorders. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking diclofenac and call your doctor: stomach pain, heartburn, vomiting a substance that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, blood in the stool, or black and tarry stools.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will monitor your symptoms carefully and will probably order certain tests to check your body's response to diclofenac. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling so that your doctor can prescribe the right amount of medication to treat your condition with the lowest risk of serious side effects.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with diclofenac and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) to obtain the Medication Guide.
Diclofenac capsules (Zipsor, Zorvolex) and tablets (Cataflam) are used to relieve mild to moderate pain. Diclofenac extended-release tablets (Voltaren XR), tablets (Cataflam), and delayed release tablets (available generically) are used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints), and rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints). Diclofenac extended-release tablets and delayed-release tablets are also used to treat ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis that mainly affects the spine). Diclofenac tablets (Cataflam) are also used to treat painful menstrual periods. Diclofenac solution (Cambia) is used to treat migraine headaches in adults, but cannot be used to prevent migraines or to treat other types of headaches. Diclofenac is in a class of medications called NSAIDs. It works by stopping the body's production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation.
Diclofenac comes as a tablet, and liquid-filled capsule, a hard gelatin capsule, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, a delayed-release (releases medication in the intestine) tablet, and as packets of powder for solution (to be mixed with water) and take by mouth. Diclofenac liquid-filled capsules are usually taken 4 times a day and diclofenac hard gelatin capsules are usually taken three times a day on an empty stomach. Diclofenac extended-release tablets are usually taken once a day, and in rare cases are taken twice a day, if needed to control pain. Diclofenac tablets and diclofenac delayed-release tablets are usually taken 2, 3, or 4 times a day. Diclofenac solution is taken without food as a one dose treatment to relieve the pain of migraine headaches. If you were told to take diclofenac on a regular basis, take it at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take diclofenac exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Different diclofenac products release the medication differently in your body and cannot be used interchangeably. Only take the diclofenac product prescribed by your doctor and do not switch to a different diclofenac product unless your doctor says that you should.
Your doctor may adjust the dose of your medication during your treatment depending on your response to the medication. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment with diclofenac.
If you are taking the powder for solution, you will need to mix it with water before you take it. To mix the medication, first remove one packet from a row of three attached packets. Place 2 to 4 tablespoons (1 to 2 ounces; 30 to 60 mL) of water in a cup. Add the contents of the packet and mix well. Drink the entire mixture right away. Throw away the empty packet in a trash can that is out of the reach of children and pets.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking diclofenac,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
The powder for solution is usually taken as needed for migraine headaches. If you are taking any other diclofenac product and you forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Diclofenac may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help. Do not take any more diclofenac until you speak to your doctor.
Diclofenac may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: July 15, 2016.