Generic name: diclofenac (dye KLOE fen ak)
Brand name: Voltaren
Drug class: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Voltaren (diclofenac) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Diclofenac works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation.
Voltaren oral tablets are used to treat mild to moderate pain, or signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Voltaren is also used to treat ankylosing spondylitis.
Voltaren ophthalmic eyedrops are used to treat pain, inflammation, and light sensitivity after eye surgery or for certain eye conditions.
Voltaren gel is used to treat osteoarthritis of the knees and hands.
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. Do not use diclofenac just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG). Diclofenac may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal.
Voltaren may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using this medicine, especially in older adults.
Before taking this medicine
Voltaren can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, even if you don't have any risk factors. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
You should not use Voltaren if you are allergic to diclofenac, or if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- heart disease, high blood pressure;
- ulcers or bleeding in your stomach;
- liver or kidney disease; or
- if you smoke.
Diclofenac can affect ovulation and it may be harder to get pregnant while you are using this medicine.
If you are pregnant, you should not take Voltaren unless your doctor tells you to. Taking a NSAID during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy can cause serious heart or kidney problems in the unborn baby and possible complications with your pregnancy.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.
Voltaren is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take Voltaren?
Take Voltaren exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the lowest dose that is effective in treating your condition.
Different brands of diclofenac contain different amounts of diclofenac, and may have different uses. If you switch brands, your dose needs may change. Follow your doctor's instructions about how much medicine to take. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the brand of diclofenac you receive at the pharmacy.
Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.
If you use Voltaren long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What to avoid
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.
Avoid taking aspirin or other NSAIDs unless your doctor tells you to.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using other medicines for pain, fever, swelling, or cold/flu symptoms. They may contain ingredients similar to diclofenac (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen).
Voltaren side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Voltaren (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of a heart attack or stroke: chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, feeling short of breath.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
- the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;
- flu-like symptoms;
- heart problems - swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath;
- kidney problems - little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your arms or legs, feeling tired or short of breath;
- liver problems - nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, itching, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- signs of stomach bleeding - bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Common Voltaren side effects may include:
- indigestion, gas, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
- diarrhea, constipation;
- headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
- abnormal lab tests;
- itching, sweating;
- stuffy nose;
- increased blood pressure; or
- swelling or pain in your arms or legs.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Voltaren?
Ask your doctor before using Voltaren if you take an antidepressant. Taking certain antidepressants with an NSAID may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
- heart or blood pressure medication, including a diuretic or "water pill";
- other forms of diclofenac (Arthrotec, Flector, Pennsaid, Solaraze, diclofenac topical gel;
- a blood thinner - warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven; or
- other NSAIDs - aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with diclofenac, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.