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Diclofenac topical Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of diclofenac topical include: increased liver enzymes. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to diclofenac topical: topical application cream, topical application gel/jelly, topical application patch extended release, topical application solution, topical application spray

Along with its needed effects, diclofenac topical may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking diclofenac topical:

More common

  • Application site reactions, including skin rash, pain, tingling, or burning sensation
  • flu-like syndrome (body ache, headache, fever, with or without chills)
  • itching skin

Less common or rare

  • Blood in the urine
  • cough
  • dry, itching, or burning eyes
  • eye pain
  • headaches, including migraines
  • increased sensitivity of the skin
  • nasal congestion
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • redness of the skin
  • redness or swelling of the eyes
  • skin rash other than at the application site
  • sore throat
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing
  • ulcers or sores on the skin, other than at the application site

Some side effects of diclofenac topical may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Burning skin
  • dry skin
  • scaly skin
  • thickened skin
  • tingling skin

Less common

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to diclofenac topical: topical cream, topical film extended release, topical gel, topical kit, topical solution


The most frequently reported side effects were application site reactions.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Dryness (up to 32%)
Common (1% to 10%): Dermatitis, burning sensation, pruritus, exfoliation, erythema, pain, induration, rash, scabbing, contusion, inflammation, irritation, itching, tingling, blistering, localized paresthesia
Frequency not reported: Vesicles, papules, localized hair discoloration, vasodilation, purpuric rash, atrophy[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Contact dermatitis, eczema, dry skin, rash, scaly rash, skin hypertrophy, skin ulcer, vesiculobullous rash, exfoliation, urticaria, acne, alopecia, skin nodule
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Face edema, maculopapular rash, photosensitivity reaction, seborrhea
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Bullous dermatitis
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Pustular rash
Frequency not reported: Skin hypertrophy[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypertension
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hemorrhage
Postmarketing reports: Palpitation, cardiovascular disorder, blood pressure increased[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain, diarrhea, dyspepsia, halitosis, nausea, flatulence, constipation
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
Frequency not reported: Upper abdominal pain
Postmarketing reports: Dry mouth, gastroenteritis, mouth ulceration, rectal hemorrhage, ulcerative stomatitis, lip swelling, swollen tongue[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Headache, migraine, hypokinesia, dysgeusia, somnolence, hypertonia, hyperesthesia, paresthesia
Postmarketing reports: Dizziness, drowsiness, lethargy, taste perversion[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Creatinine increased
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Renal failure[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): SGOT increased, SGPT increased[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia
Postmarketing reports: Appetite decreased[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Back pain, neck pain, arthralgia, arthrosis, myalgia
Postmarketing reports: Leg cramps[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Eye pain, conjunctivitis
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Lacrimation disorder
Postmarketing reports: Abnormal vision, blurred vision, cataract, eye disorder[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Asthma, dyspnea, pharyngitis, pneumonia, rhinitis, sinusitis, sinus congestion
Postmarketing reports: Laryngismus, laryngitis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Accidental injury, asthenia, chest pain, flu-like syndrome, infection, pain, creatine phosphokinase increased, edema
Postmarketing reports: Lack of drug effect, body odor, ear pain[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Skin carcinoma[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hematuria, urinary tract infection[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Allergic reaction[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Depression[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. "Product Information. Flector Patch (diclofenac topical)." Actavis U.S. (Alpharma USPD), Owings Mills, MD.

4. "Product Information. Solaraze (diclofenac topical)" SkyePharma, San Diego, CA.

5. "Product Information. Voltaren Topical (diclofenac topical)." Endo Laboratories LLC, Chadds Ford, PA.

6. "Product Information. Pennsaid (diclofenac topical)." Horizon Pharma USA Inc, Northbrook, IL.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.