Diclofenac (On the skin)

Introduction

Diclofenac (dye-KLOE-fen-ak)

Treats a skin condition called actinic keratoses. Also used to treat pain caused by arthritis of the joints (osteoarthritis).

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Solaraze, Voltaren Gel, Voltaren, Pennsaid

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to diclofenac, benzyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol, hyaluronate, aspirin, or other NSAID medicines (such as ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Ecotrin®, or Motrin®). Do not use this medicine to relieve pain right before or right after having coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), a type of heart surgery.

How to Use This Medicine

Gel/Jelly, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not use it on skin areas that have cuts or scrapes. If it does get on these areas, rinse it off right away.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Apply a thin layer to the affected area. Rub it in gently.
  • After applying this medicine, do not shower, bathe, or wash the affected area for at least one hour. Wait at least 10 minutes before covering the treated skin with gloves or clothing.
  • Do not use heating pads or cover the treated area with a bandage unless your doctor has told you to.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, apply it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to apply the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking an NSAID for pain or arthritis (such as aspirin, Advil®, Aleve®, Dolobid®, Feldene®, Indocin®, Motrin®, Orudis®, Relafen®, or Voltaren®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin or Coumadin®), or a diuretic or water pill (such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide [HCTZ], torsemide, Demadex®, or Lasix®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are using cyclosporine (such as Neoral® or Sandimmune®), lithium (Eskalith®), methotrexate (Rheumatrex®), certain medicines to lower blood pressure (such as enalapril, lisinopril, Accupril®, Lotrel®, or Zestril®), or a steroid medicine (such as cortisone, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone, or Orapred®).
  • Do not use cosmetics, sunscreen, or other skin care products on the treated skin areas.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use this medicine during the later part of a pregnancy unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure (CHF), or other heart or circulation problems. Tell your doctor if you have edema (fluid retention), liver disease, kidney disease, a bleeding problem, or asthma.
  • This medicine may raise your risk of having a blood clot, heart attack or stroke. This is more likely in people who already have heart disease. People who use this medicine for a long time might also have a higher risk.
  • This medicine may cause bleeding in your stomach or intestines. These problems can happen without warning signs. This is more likely if you have had a stomach or intestinal ulcer or bleeding in the past, if you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, if you are over 60 years old, if you are in poor health, or if you are using certain other medicines (a steroid or a blood thinner).
  • This medicine may also cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Although this is rare, it may occur more often in patients who are allergic to aspirin or to any of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention. The most serious signs of this reaction are very fast or irregular breathing, gasping for breath, wheezing, or fainting. Other signs may include changes in color of the skin of the face; very fast but irregular heartbeat or pulse; hive-like swellings on the skin; and puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes. If these effects occur, get emergency help at once.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood or urine at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash.
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood.
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf).
  • Severe stomach pain.
  • Sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unexplained weight gain.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Vomiting blood or something that looks like coffee grounds.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry, flaking skin.
  • Mild skin rash, itching, or redness.
  • Mild stomach pain, constipation, or diarrhea.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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