Diclofenac is the generic formulation of voltaren, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that inhibits cyclooxygenase (COX) to decrease the prostaglandins in the epithelium (animal tissue that lines the cavities, surfaces of blood vessels and organs) of the stomach.
Diclofenac is primarily used in the treatment of inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, polymyositis, gout attacks and also dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps. The pill is used in the treatment of mild to moderate post-traumatic pain. The medication is also available in topical form (medication is applied only on a particular area) for the treatment of minor sprains.
Diclofenac can also be used to treat chronic pain related to cancer. Due to its severity in side effects the drug is not supposed to be used by heart failure patients or patients with active bleeding like cerebral hemorrhage. The drug has to be taken only as told by the physician as it is found to worsen existing hypertension if it is not taken in the correct way.
Diclofenac is available in many formulations and the dosage varies depending on the medical condition of the person. The topical lotion form is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis of knee. It is better to start with the smallest dose of this medication in the initial stage. When it is taken in powdered form it has be mixed with some water and taken on an empty stomach. The med is also available as over-the-counter drug in some countries.
Important safety information
Before taking Diclofenac it is recommended that you take a few basic precautions to ensure the safe use of the drug. These may be as follows:
- It is not advised to use this drug you have ever had an allergic reaction to any NSAID, aspirin, or other drugs too.
- Do not continue taking Diclofenac for an extended period of time or in high doses as it can lead to heart attack or stroke.
- Those who have an existing heart condition are at greater risk when using this drug. It should not be taken either before or after a cardiac bypass surgery.
- Another dangerous side effect that can occur is bleeding in the stomach or intestines, which can become fatal if it occurs and is not treated in time.
- Be sure to inform the doctor if you have any major health problem like heart disease, history of stroke, blood clots, heart attack, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, stomach ulcers, allergic to beef or beef products, liver diseases, fluid retention problems, and asthma.
- Diclofenac should not be taken in the last trimester of pregnancy as it can harm the fetus. Always inform the doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or currently breast-feeding.
Common side effects like bloating, constipation, headaches, rashes and diarrhea may happen in the initial stage of consumption of Diclofenac. But this may settle down over time. Many people reported upper gastrointestinal complications while taking this pill. Side effects like nose bleeding, inflammation of liver, low blood pressure, anxiety, stroke, nightmares and psychotic reactions are found to occur in few people. Such conditions of severity must be treated by a physician immediately. There are possibilities for these side effects when the pill is not taken in the way it has been directed.
Interactions with other drugs
It is not recommended to take Diclofenac with the below mentioned drugs as they interact with this drug
- Beta blockers
- Medications taken for diabetes
Also it is not advisable to take other prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and even vitamins supplements while the person is on treatment with this drug.