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Diclofenac: Drug Description

Diclofenac is a prescription drug used for treating pain, inflammation, and fever. It belongs to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are known to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect.


Although diclofenac is most commonly used for treating pain, it is also approved for the following conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Migraines
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual periods)
  • Actinic keratosis
  • Inflammation following eye surgery
  • Light sensitivity following eye surgery
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
Your doctor may also recommend that you can use Diclofenac for other conditions not listed above. These off-label uses of diclofenac include the treatment of fibromyalgia, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and symptoms of lupus.

Remember that diclofenac will not cure the cause of pain or inflammation (such as arthritis or osteoarthritis) and will only relieve the symptoms as long as you take it.

Diclofenac is not licensed for use in children.

Diclofenac is marketed under several trade names for different uses. Among diclofenac trade names are Cambia, Voltaren, Zipsor, and Zorvolex.

Mechanism of action

As other NSAIDs, diclofenac works by preventing the production of certain inflammatory substances that causes inflammation and pain. These substances are called prostaglandins. By blocking their production diclofenac helps treat pain and inflammation, as well as some other conditions.

How Supplied

Diclofenac comes in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, powder, gels, extended-release tablets, and eye drops. Diclofenac pills are available in one strength – diclofenac 100 mg.

Dosage and Administration

The specific instructions on how to take generic diclofenac depend on the form of medication. Thus, diclofenac tablets should be taken orally with meal to avoid stomach upset or indigestion. However, food may make diclofenac work more slowly.

Diclofenac powder should be dissolved in 1-2 ounces of water.

More detailed information on how to take diclofenac is provided in the patient information leaflet. Read the leaflet carefully before using diclofenac and follow its directions. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about anything related to your dosage of diclofenac.

Here are the standard recommended doses of diclofenac tablets used for different conditions:

  • When using diclofenac for treating pain, the standard dosage is 50 mg taken three times a day or, sometimes, 25 mg taken four times a day.
  • Patients with osteoarthritis are usually prescribed 50 mg taken two or three times a day or 75 mg taken twice a day. The maximum dose is 150 mg per day. For diclofenac gel, the recommended dosage is 2 g applied four times a day.
  • The recommended diclofenac dosage for rheumatoid arthritis is 50 mg taken three or four times a day. Diclofenac usually begins to work within one week, but it may take as long as several weeks in severe cases for the medication to start working.
  • Pain or inflammation associated with eye surgery is usually treated with one or to drops of diclofenac eye drops four times a day.
  • Women with painful menstrual periods are recommended to take 50 mg of diclofenac three times daily.
  • When treating ankylosing spondylitis, the usual diclofenac dosage is 25 mg taken four times a day.
Your dose may differ from the above standard recommendations. Your dosage of diclofenac will depend on the type of pain being treated and some other factors, such as other medications you take.

If you take more than one diclofenac tablet per day, take them at regular intervals.

Do not increase your dose of diclofenac, even if it does not work. Larger doses will not increase the effectiveness of the drug, but may cause unwanted effects. Take diclofenac as prescribed for the drug to work properly.

Diclofenac is not suitable for all patients. For example, people with heart disease or circulation problems are not recommended to take diclofenac. Make sure your doctor knows what chronic medical conditions you have to ensure diclofenac is a safe drug for you.

If you use diclofenac for a long term, your doctor should check your progress regularly. This will allow seeing if diclofenac is working properly and if you need to continue taking it.