Generic Name:diclofenac topical (dye KLOE fen ak TOP ik al)
Brand Name: Voltaren Topical
Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Dec 1, 2020.
What is Voltaren Gel?
Voltaren Gel contains diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Diclofenac works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation.
Voltaren Gel is used to treat joint pain caused by osteoarthritis in the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, or feet.
Voltaren Gel may not be effective in treating arthritis pain elsewhere in the body.
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).
Diclofenac can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
Diclofenac may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using Voltaren Gel, especially in older adults.
Before taking this medicine
Voltaren Gel can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Even people without heart disease or risk factors could have a stroke or heart attack while using Voltaren Gel. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
You should not use Voltaren Gel if you are allergic to diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, Flector, and others), or if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID.
To make sure Voltaren Gel is safe for you, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have:
a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot;
a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding;
liver or kidney disease; ot
Diclofenac can affect ovulation and it may be harder to get pregnant while you are using this medicine.
If you are pregnant, you should not use Voltaren Gel unless your doctor tells you to. Using a NSAID during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy can cause serious heart or kidney problems in the unborn baby and possible complications with your pregnancy.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.
How should I use Voltaren Gel?
Use Voltaren Gel exactly as prescribed by your doctor or as instructed on the packaging. Do not use this medicine in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Use the lowest dose that is effective in treating your condition.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Wash your hands after applying Voltaren Gel, unless you are treating the skin on your hands. Wait at least 10 minutes before dressing or wearing gloves. Wait at least 1 hour before you bathe or shower.
Do not apply to an open skin wound, or on areas of infection, rash, burn, or peeling skin. Do not cover treated skin with a bandage or expose it to heat from a hot tub, heating pad, or sauna. Heat or bandaging can increase the amount of diclofenac you absorb through your skin.
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 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.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.
Voltaren Gel dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Osteoarthritis:
Lower Extremities: Apply 4 g to the affected foot, knee, or ankle 4 times a day and rub in gently; not to exceed 16 g/day to any single joint of the lower extremities
Upper Extremities: Apply 2 g to the affected hand, wrist, or elbow 4 times a day and rub in gently; not to exceed 8 g/day to any single joint of the upper extremities
Maximum dose: 32 g/day over all affected joints
-When used on the lower extremities, the gel should be applied to the entire affected foot, knee, or ankle; the entire foot includes the sole, the top of the foot, and the toes.
-When used on the upper extremities, apply to the entire affected hand, wrist, or elbow; the entire hand includes the palm, the back of the hands, and the fingers.
-The accompanying dosing card should be used for application; consult manufacturer product information for instructions.
Use: For the relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis of the joints amenable to topical treatment, such as the knees and those of the hands; this drug has not been evaluated for use on the spine, hip, or shoulder.
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?
Do not use cosmetics, sunscreen, lotions, insect repellant, or other medicated skin products on the same area you treat with Voltaren Gel.
Avoid exposing treated skin to heat, sunlight, or tanning beds.
Avoid getting Voltaren Gel near your eyes, nose, or mouth. If this does happen, rinse with water. Call your doctor if you have eye irritation that lasts longer than 1 hour.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.
Avoid taking aspirin or other NSAIDs while you are using Voltaren Gel.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any cold, allergy, or pain medication. Many medicines available over the counter contain aspirin or other medicines similar to diclofenac. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of this type of medication. 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 signs of an allergic reaction to Voltaren Gel (hives, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, wheezing or trouble breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
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 seek emergency medical attention if you have signs of a heart attack or stroke: chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, feeling short of breath.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
a skin rash, no matter how mild;
swelling, rapid weight gain;
severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;
little or no urination;
liver problems - nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
low red blood cells (anemia) - pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet; or
signs of stomach bleeding - bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Common Voltaren Gel side effects may include:
heartburn, gas, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;
headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
itching, increased sweating;
increased blood pressure; or
skin redness, itching, dryness, scaling, or peeling where the medicine was applied.
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.
What other drugs will affect Voltaren Gel?
Ask your doctor before using Voltaren Gel if you take an antidepressant such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline (Zoloft), trazodone, or vilazodone. Taking any of these medicines with an NSAID may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
heart or blood pressure medication, including a diuretic or "water pill"; or
steroid medicine (prednisone and others).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with diclofenac topical, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 10.03.
More about Voltaren Gel (diclofenac topical)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 234 Reviews
- Drug class: topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
- FDA Alerts (1)
- FDA Approval History