How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Diclofenac ophthalmic solution belongs to the class of medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is used to relieve inflammation and pain in the eye after cataract surgery or eye injury.
After an injury or surgery, the body naturally produces chemicals that cause inflammation. Diclofenac reduces the production of these chemicals, thereby reducing inflammation.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Preserved multi-dose bottles
Each 1 mL of solution contains 1 mg of diclofenac. Nonmedicinal ingredients: cremophor EL, boric acid, tromethamine (TRIS), sorbic acid, edetate disodium, and purified water.
Unpreserved single dose units
Each 1 mL of solution contains 1 mg of diclofenac. Nonmedicinal ingredients: cremophor EL, boric acid, tromethamine (TRIS), and purified water.
How should I use this medication?
Cataract surgery: Gently pull your lower eyelid down to form a pouch. This is the conjunctival sac. Instill 1 drop from the dropper container into the conjunctival sac up to 5 times during the 3 hours immediately before cataract surgery. Your doctor may then instruct you to instill 1 drop into the conjunctival sac at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45 minutes after cataract surgery. While you are recovering from cataract surgery, you may be asked to put the drops in your eye 3 to 5 times daily, for up to 4 weeks.
Eye injury: Gently pull your lower eyelid down to form a pouch. This is the conjunctival sac. Instill 1 drop from the dropper container into the conjunctival sac 4 to 5 times a day, as directed by your doctor.
Follow your pharmacist's or doctor's instructions on proper use of the eye drops. To help prevent infections, do not touch the applicator tip to your eye or to any other surface. Wash your hands before using the medication. If you are unsure how to put the drops in your eyes, speak with your pharmacist or doctor for instructions.
If you are using additional medications in the form of eye drops, leave an interval of at least 5 minutes between drops. This will help prevent one medication from being washed out of the eye before it can become effective.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protected from light. Keep this and all other medications out of reach of children.
If you are using unpreserved, single-dose units, discard the open container after instilling the eye drops. If you are using a preserved, multi-dose bottle, discard any remaining solution 28 days after opening the container.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to diclofenac or any ingredients of the medication
- have a history of asthma, itchy skin rash, or allergic reactions after taking ASA (acetylsalicylic acid) or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, celecoxib, naproxen, indomethacin, etc.)
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- bad taste
- blurred vision
- mild-to-moderate burning feeling
- sensitivity to light
- temporary eye pain when drops are instilled
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- changes in vision
- persistent eye pain
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergies: If you are allergic to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen) you may also be allergic to diclofenac eye drops. If you are allergic to these medications, talk to your doctor before using diclofenac eye drops.
Bleeding: If you are having surgery and bleed easily or are taking medications that prolong bleeding (e.g., warfarin), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Contact lenses: Contact lenses must be removed before using the eye drops and can be put back in 15 minutes afterwards. Soft contact lenses should not be worn while using diclofenac ophthalmic drops.
Vision: This medication can cause blurred or reduced vision. If you experience these symptoms, do not drive or operate machinery until these symptoms resolve. Although these symptoms usually improve over time, stop using the eye drops and contact your eye doctor if they persist.
Wound healing: Diclofenac eye drops may slow or delay the healing of wounds. You are at an increased risk if you have complicated eye surgeries, disorders of the cornea, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or several eye surgeries in a short time. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if diclofenac ophthalmic drops pass into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between diclofenac eye drops and any of the following:
- corticosteroid eye drops (e.g., prednisolone)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.