Generic Name: diclofenac topical (dye KLOE fen ak TOP ik al)
Brand Names: Pennsaid, Solaraze, Voltaren Topical
What is Voltaren Gel?
Voltaren Gel contains diclofenac,a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Diclofenac works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body.
Voltaren Gel is used to treat joint pain in the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, or feet caused by osteoarthritis. This medication may not be effective in treating arthritis pain elsewhere in the body.
Voltaren Gel may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Voltaren Gel if you have ever had asthma or a severe allergic reaction caused by aspirin, diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
NSAIDs may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or have heart disease. Do not use Voltaren Gel just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
NSAIDs may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using Voltaren Gel.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Voltaren Gel if you have ever had asthma or a severe allergic reaction caused by aspirin, diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), or another NSAID.
While the risk of absorbing diclofenac into your bloodstream is low, an NSAID may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or have heart disease. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
An NSAID may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using Voltaren Gel, especially if:
you are in poor health;
you smoke or drink alcohol;
you are an older adult;
you use Voltaren Gel long-term; or
you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin) or steroid medicine (prednisone, dexamethasone, and others).
To make sure Voltaren Gel is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a history of drug allergies;
a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot;
heart disease, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure;
a history of stomach ulcer or bleeding;
liver or kidney disease;
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; or
asthma, or polyps in your nose.
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use Voltaren Gel if you are pregnant, especially during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
Diclofenac topical can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using Voltaren Gel.
How should I use Voltaren Gel?
Use Voltaren Gel exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Use this medicine at the lowest dose for the shortest length of time needed to treat your symptoms. When treating osteoarthritis, keep using any oral medications your doctor has prescribed.
Wash your hands after applying this medication, unless you are treating the skin on your hands. Do not wear gloves for at least 10 minutes after applying Voltaren Gel to the hands.
Do not use Voltaren Gel on an open skin wound, or on areas of eczema, infection, skin rash, or burn injury. Do not cover the treated skin with a bandage or expose it to heat from a hot tub, heating pad, sauna, or heated water bed. Heat or bandaging can increase the amount of drug you absorb through your skin and may cause harmful effects.
After you apply Voltaren Gel, wait at least 10 minutes before dressing and at least 1 hour before you bathe or shower.
To treat osteoarthritis pain with Voltaren Gel: This medicine is supplied with dosing cards that show you how much gel to use for a 2-gram dose or a 4-gram dose. Squeeze the Voltaren Gel onto this card along the line for your dose. Use no more gel than will fit on the length of your dosing line. Wipe the card directly onto the treatment area and rub gently into the skin.
To treat arthritis pain in the foot, spread the Voltaren Gel out onto all areas of the foot including the toes and soles. When treating the hand, spread the gel out onto all areas of the hand including the fingers and palms.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using Voltaren Gel?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.
Do not use cosmetics, sunscreen, lotions, insect repellant, or other medicated skin products on the same area you treat with Voltaren Gel.
Avoid getting Voltaren Gel in your mouth, nose, or eyes. If this does happen, rinse with water.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds) while you are using Voltaren Gel.
Avoid taking aspirin, oral (pill form) diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), or other NSAIDs without your doctor's advice. This includes ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any cold, allergy, or pain medicine. Aspirin and other medicines similar to diclofenac are contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug. Check the label to see if a medicine contains aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen.
Voltaren Gel side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Voltaren Gel: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Although the risk of serious side effects is low when diclofenac is applied to the skin, this medicine can be absorbed through the skin, which may cause steroid side effects throughout the body.
Stop using Voltaren Gel and get emergency medical help if you have heart attack symptoms--chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating; or signs of a stroke--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance.
Call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of stomach bleeding such as black, bloody, or tarry stools, or coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;
pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
little or no urinating;
dangerously high blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, uneven heartbeats, seizure; or
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common Voltaren Gel side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, heartburn, gas;
diarrhea, constipation; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Voltaren Gel?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied diclofenac. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
More about Voltaren Gel (diclofenac topical)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Voltaren Gel.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Voltaren Gel only for the indication prescribed.
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.
Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 9.03. Revision Date: 2014-04-13, 8:03:47 PM.