Diclofenac (On the skin)


Diclofenac (dye-KLOE-fen-ak)

Treats actinic keratoses. Also treats pain and swelling caused by arthritis. This is an NSAID.

Brand Name(s)

Pennsaid, Solaraze, Voltaren Gel

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Gel/Jelly, Liquid

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Use this medicine only on your skin. Rinse it off right away if it gets on a cut or scrape. Do not get the medicine in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use this medicine.
  • Apply a thin layer of the medicine to the affected area. Rub it in gently.
  • Do not shower, bathe, or wash the affected area for at least 30 minutes after you apply Pennsaid® or Solaraze® or 1 hour after you apply Voltaren®.
  • Wait until the medicine dries before you cover the treated skin with gloves or clothing. Do not let the treated skin touch any other person's skin until the medicine is completely dry.
  • Pennsaid®: Apply the medicine 10 drops at a time, to avoid spilling. Do not use external heat or bandages on the treated skin or joint.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: Apply a dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and apply a regular dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some foods and medicines can affect how diclofenac works. Tell your doctor if you are using acetaminophen, cyclosporine, lithium, methotrexate, another NSAID medicine (such as aspirin, celecoxib, ibuprofen, naproxen), blood pressure medicine, a diuretic (water pill), medicine to treat an infection, medicine to treat seizures, a steroid medicine, or a blood thinner (such as warfarin).
  • Do not put cosmetics or skin care products on the treated skin. You may use sunscreen, insect repellant, lotion, or other topical medicines with Pennsaid®. However, wait until the medicine is completely dry before you apply anything else.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, asthma, bleeding problems, congestive heart failure (CHF), high blood pressure, other heart or circulation problems, or a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Higher risk of blood clot, heart attack, or stroke
    • Bleeding in your stomach or intestines
    • Liver problems
    • Kidney problems
    • Serious skin reactions
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools, severe stomach pain, vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Chest pain that may spread to your arms, jaw, back, or neck, trouble breathing, unusual sweating, faintness
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body, pain in your lower leg, sudden or severe headache, or problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry, flaky, or scaly skin; mild skin rash, itching, or redness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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