See also Warning section.This medication is used to relieve joint pain from arthritis. Diclofenac belongs to a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).If you are treating a chronic condition such as arthritis, ask your doctor about non-drug treatments and/or using other medications to treat your pain.
How to use diclofenac sodium topical
Read the Medication Guide and Patient Instructions for Use provided by your pharmacist before you start using diclofenac and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is for use on the skin only. To measure the right dose, use the dosing card(s) provided with the medication. Place a dosing card on a flat surface so that you can read the print on the card. Squeeze an even line of the medication from the tube onto the dosing card, using the marks on the card to measure the prescribed dose. Gently rub the medication into the entire affected joint, usually 4 times daily or as directed by your doctor. You may use the dosing card to apply the medication. Do not apply the medication on skin that has cuts, infections, or rashes.
If the package instructions direct you to reuse the dosing card, then after each use, hold the card with your fingertips, rinse, and dry. When you are ready to discard the dosing card, fold the card in half with the medication side inside and throw away out of the reach of children and pets. Wash your hands after using the medication unless you are using it to treat the hands. Do not shower, bathe, or wash any treated areas for at least an hour after applying the medication. Wait at least 10 minutes before covering the treated area with gloves or clothing. Do not wrap, bandage, or apply heat (such as a heating pad) to the treated area.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not apply more than 16 grams of diclofenac per day to any single joint of the lower body (such as knee, ankle, foot). Do not apply more than 8 grams of diclofenac per day to any single joint of the upper body (such as hand, wrist, elbow). No matter how many joints you are treating, do not use more than a total of 32 grams of diclofenac per day.
Discuss the risks and benefits of using this drug with your doctor or pharmacist. To reduce the risk of side effects, use this medication at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Do not increase your dose, use it more often than prescribed, or apply the medication to any area not prescribed by your doctor.
Do not get the medication in the eyes, nose, or mouth. If you do get the medication in those areas, flush with plenty of water. Contact your doctor right away if irritation persists.
For certain conditions (such as arthritis), it may take up to 2 weeks of using this drug regularly until you get the full benefit.
If you are using this drug “as needed” (not on a regular schedule), remember that pain medications work best if they are used as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, the medication may not work as well.
Tell your doctor if your pain persists or worsens.
Skin irritation/redness may occur at the application site. If this effect persists or worsens, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), symptoms of heart failure (such as swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain).
This drug may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, including: persistent nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.