About topical diclofenac
|Type of medicine||Topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)|
|Used for||Treating pain and swelling due to strains, sprains, backache or arthritis
Treating actinic keratosis (skin damage caused by sun exposure)
|Also called||Used for strains and sprains:
Voltarol Gel Patch®
Used for actinic keratosis:
|Available as||Gel, spray and gel patch|
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and works by preventing the production of irritant chemicals which cause pain and inflammation. It is used topically (which means it is applied to the skin) to ease muscular pains, sprains and strains. A topical diclofenac preparation called Solaraze® gel is used to treat a condition called actinic keratosis (skin damage caused by sun exposure). This preparation is a different strength to that used for pain relief, and the two types of topical diclofenac are not interchangeable.
Before using topical diclofenac
Before using diclofenac topical make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have asthma or breathing problems.
- If you have ever had an unusual reaction after taking aspirin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as indometacin, ibuprofen or naproxen, or any other medicine.
- If your skin is inflamed or broken.
- If you have severe kidney problems.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
How to use topical diclofenac
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Apply a thin layer and gently massage it into the affected area. Wash your hands well afterwards.
- Your doctor or pharmacist will recommend how often and for how long to use topical diclofenac, but for strains and sprains this is usually three or four times a day for no more than 2 weeks unless on your doctor's advice.
- If you are using diclofenac gel to treat actinic keratosis, it should be applied thinly to the affected area twice daily for 60-90 days.
- Do not use topical diclofenac near your eyes, inside your nose, or let it come into contact with any inflamed or broken skin.
- Do not use on any area that is covered by a bandage, dressing or sticking plaster.
- If you forget to apply diclofenac at your usual time, apply it as soon as you remember.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take whilst using topical diclofenac.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Diclofenac may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight during treatment. Do not use sunbeds, and protect any treated areas from strong sunlight.
- Topical diclofenac preparations are not suitable for use in children unless it is on the advice of a doctor.
Can topical diclofenac cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Possible side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Itching or reddening of the skin at the site of application||If this is severe, stop using topical diclofenac|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store topical diclofenac
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Mobigel® Spray 4%; Manufacturer's PIL, Mobigel® Spray 4%, Goldshield plc, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 26/10/2011||Document ID: 3715 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.