Generic Name: diclofenac topical (dye KLOE fen ak TOP ik al)
Brand Names: Pennsaid, Solaraze, Voltaren Topical
Medically reviewed on August 16, 2018
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 if you have:
a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot;
a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding;
liver or kidney disease;
Using Voltaren Gel during the last 3 months of pregnancy may harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether diclofenac topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Voltaren Gel is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I use Voltaren Gel?
Use Voltaren Gel exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. 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.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
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
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.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Voltaren Gel: sneezing, runny or stuffy nose; wheezing or trouble breathing; hives; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Get emergency medical help 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.
Stop using Voltaren Gel and call your doctor at once if you have:
the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;
shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling in your arms or legs;
kidney problems - little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;
low red blood cells (anemia) - pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating; or
severe skin reaction - fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common Voltaren Gel side effects may include:
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 9.05.
More about Voltaren Gel (diclofenac topical)
- Voltaren Gel Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 178 Reviews
- Drug class: topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatories