diclofenac topical gel
In this drug factsheet:
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 uses 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 using 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.
- application site irritation (e.g., redness, itching)
- increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
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:
- blistering skin at the application site
- stomach discomfort
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face and throat)
- symptoms of bleeding in the stomach or intestines (black, tarry stools; stomach pain; vomit with a coffee-grind appearance or vomiting blood; weakness or fainting)
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.
Absorption: Diclofenac gel is intended to be used on the surface of intact, uninfected skin. This minimizes the amount of diclofenac that may be absorbed into your body. However, when it is used for a longer than recommended length of time, or applied to a large area of the body, enough medication may be absorbed to cause side effects similar to diclofenac that is taken by mouth.
Asthma: As with other anti-inflammatory medications, rarely, diclofenac gel can cause difficulty breathing. If you have asthma, 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. If you have any unusual difficulty breathing while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Some people have reported headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, and confusion while using this medication. Avoid operating motor vehicles and doing other potentially hazardous activities until you have determined the effect this medication has on you.
Infection: This medication may mask some of the signs of infection, such as fever.
Peptic ulcers: If you have stomach or intestinal ulcers or a history of them, 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.
Sun sensitivity: This medication may make your skin more sensitive to the sun. While you are using this medication, avoid excessive sun exposure, including tanning beds and sun lamps. If you experience sunburn with itching, swelling, and blistering, stop using this medication and contact your doctor.
Vision: Other medications in the same family as diclofenac may cause vision changes such as blurred or decreased vision. If you notice vision changes, stop using the medication and check with your doctor.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if diclofenac topical gel passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using 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 less than 16 years of age.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between diclofenac topical gel and any of the following:
- acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
- angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs; captopril, enalapril, ramipril)
- angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs; e.g., candasartan, irbesartan, losartan)
- beta-adrenergic blockers (e.g., atenolol, propranolol, sotalol)
- bisphosphonates (e.g., alendronate, etidronate, pamidronate, risedronate, zoledronic acid)
- calcium channel blockers (e.g., amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil)
- corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone)
- diabetes medications (e.g., chlorpropamide, glipizide, glyburide, insulin, metformin, nateglinide, rosiglitazone)
- diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene)
- fluoroquinolone antibiotics (e.g., ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin)
- herbal medications that affect blood clotting (e.g., ginkgo biloba, garlic, ginger, ginseng, glucosamine)
- medications that affect blood clotting (e.g., acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, aspirin), clopidogrel, enoxaparin, dalteparin, heparin, lepirudin, tinzaparin, or warfarin)
- medications used to treat stomach or intestinal ulcers, reflux, or excessive acidity (e.g., ranitidine, omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole)
- other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, ketorolac)
- other products containing diclofenac
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs e.g., paroxetine, fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline)
- tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, doxepin, imipramine)
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.