Why is this medication prescribed?
Diclofenac is used to relieve the pain, tenderness, inflammation (swelling), and stiffness caused by arthritis and gout. It also is used to relieve other pain, including menstrual pain and pain after surgery or childbirth.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Diclofenac comes as a regular and extended-release (long-lasting) tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken two to four times a day. Do not crush the tablets; swallow them whole. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take diclofenac exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking diclofenac,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to diclofenac, aspirin or other medications for pain or arthritis, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, atenolol (Tenormin), carteolol (Cartrol), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), diuretics ('water pills'), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), medications for arthritis or diabetes, methotrexate, metoprolol (Lopressor), nadolol (Corgard), phenytoin (Dilantin), probenecid (Benemid), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver, heart, or kidney disease; high blood pressure; gastritis; intestinal problems such as bleeding from the stomach or rectum; ulcers or other gastrointestinal disease; or SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking diclofenac, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking diclofenac.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug. Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Diclofenac may cause an upset stomach. Take diclofenac with food or milk.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from diclofenac are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- stomach pain or cramps
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- bloody vomit
- bloody diarrhea or black, tarry stools
- ringing in the ears
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- skin rash
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to diclofenac.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.