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Diclofenac use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 20, 2023.

Drugs containing Diclofenac: Voltaren, Cataflam, Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel, Pennsaid, Arthrotec, Cambia, Licart, Flector Patch, Diclofex DC, Voltaren-XR, Show all 43 »Lofena, Solaraze, Diclona, Aspercreme Arthritis Pain Relief Gel, Lexixryl, Fenovar, Ziclocin, Zipsor, Zorvolex, Diclozor, Profinac, DermacinRx Lexitral, Pennsaicin, Ziclopro, Inavix, DermacinRx Lexitral PharmaPak, Dicloheal-60, NuDiclo SoluPak, Sure Result DSS Premium Pak, Diclareal Topical Kit, Capsinac, Diclosaicin, Diclotral Pak, Voltaren Ophthalmic, Dyloject, Klofensaid II, Xrylix, Diclo Gel with Xrylix, Fluorac, Trixylitral, DicloStream, DicloPR, Roaoxia

Diclofenac Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Data on excretion of diclofenac into milk are poor, but the drug has a short half-life and little glucuronide metabolite formation. Most reviewers consider diclofenac to be acceptable during breastfeeding.[1-5] Other agents having more published information may be preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant.[6]

Maternal use of diclofenac topical gel or eye drops would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants. To substantially diminish the amount of drug that reaches the breastmilk after using eye drops, place pressure over the tear duct by the corner of the eye for 1 minute or more, then remove the excess solution with an absorbent tissue.

Drug Levels

No original data on the excretion of diclofenac into milk are available. Data are limited to those reported in review articles in which no study details are reported.

Diclofenac was undetectable (<100 mcg/L) in the breastmilk over a 6-hour period after a 50 mg intramuscular injection in 6 women.[7,8]

Six mothers were given oral diclofenac 100 mg daily orally for one week postpartum. The drug was undetectable(<10 mcg/L) in milk of any of 59 samples of milk collected (collection times unspecified).[8]

A woman treated with 150 mg daily of diclofenac had a breastmilk diclofenac level of 100 mcg/L, equivalent to about 0.03 mg/kg daily for the infant.[9]

Effects in Breastfed Infants

In one study, 30 mothers undergoing elective cesarean section were allowed to use 25 mg diclofenac suppositories along with either spinal or spinal and epidural anesthesia with a local anesthetic after delivery. The spinal anesthetic group used an average of 56 mg of diclofenac on the day of delivery and 33 mg on the next day whereas the women receiving both spinal and epidural anesthesia used 21 and 18 mg. No mention was made of adverse effects on the breastfed infants.[10]

A breastfed infant developed urticaria on day 15 of life. Her mother had been taking diclofenac (dosage unspecified) for pain since her cesarean section delivery. Diclofenac is a possible cause of the urticaria; however, the infant had also received hepatitis B vaccination 7 days before and the authors thought that it was a more likely cause of the reaction.[11]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

A randomized, double-blind study was performed in pregnant women scheduled for cesarean section under spinal anesthesia with bupivacaine and fentanyl. Patients received either 100 mg diclofenac (n = 100), 100 mg tramadol (n = 100) or placebo (glycerin suppositories) n = 100, all given as rectal suppositories every 8 hours for the first 24 hours after surgery. The time to initiate breastfeeding was significantly shorter among mothers who received diclofenac than a placebo, 1.5 vs 4.1 hours with breastfeeding support and 3.5 vs 6.2 hours without support. Diclofenac was slightly more effective than tramadol among mothers who received no support (3.5 vs 3.7 hours).[12]

Alternate Drugs to Consider

(Systemic) Acetaminophen, Flurbiprofen, Ibuprofen, Indomethacin, Naproxen, Piroxicam


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MacGregor EA. Migraine in pregnancy and lactation. Neurol Sci. 2014;35 Suppl 1:61–4. [PubMed: 24867839]
Davanzo R, Bua J, Paloni G, et al. Breastfeeding and migraine drugs. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2014;70:1313–24. [PubMed: 25217187]
Fowler PD. Voltarol: Diclofenac sodium. Clin Rheum Dis. 1979;5:427–64.
Sioufi A, Stierlin H, Schweizer A, et al. Recent findings concerning clinically relevant pharmacokinetics of diclofenac sodium. In, Kåss E. Voltaren--new findings. Bern. Hans Huber Publishers. 1982:19-30.
Todd PA, Sorkin EM. Diclofenac sodium. A reappraisal of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic efficacy. Drugs. 1988;35:244–85. [PubMed: 3286213]
Hirose M, Hara Y, Hosokawa T, et al. The effect of postoperative analgesia with continuous epidural bupivacaine after cesarean section on the amount of breast feeding and infant weight gain. Anesth Analg. 1996;82:1166–9. [PubMed: 8638785]
De Cerqueira AM, De Azevedo JO, Guimaraes MB, et al. Urticaria in a newborn. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009;60(3) Suppl 1 [Abstract 148.]
Hooda R, Malik N, Pathak P, et al. Impact of postoperative pain on early initiation of breastfeeding and ambulation after cesarean section: A randomized trial. Breastfeed Med. 2023;18:132–7. [PubMed: 36800334]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Milk, Human

Analgesic Agents

Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Agents

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Further information

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