What is diclofenac?

Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This medicine works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation.

Diclofenac is used to treat mild to moderate pain, or signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The Cataflam brand of this medicine is also used to treat menstrual cramps.

Diclofenac powder (Cambia) is used to treat a migraine headache attack. Cambia will only treat a headache that has already begun. It will not prevent headaches or reduce the number of attacks.

Important information

You should not use diclofenac if you have a history of allergic reaction to aspirin or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

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 this medicine, especially in older adults.

Before taking this medicine

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. Even people without heart disease or risk factors could have a stroke or heart attack while taking this medicine.

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 this medicine, especially in older adults.

You should not use diclofenac if you are allergic to it, or if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID.

Do not use Cambia to treat a cluster headache. Do not use Zipsor if you are allergic to beef or beef protein.

To make sure diclofenac is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you smoke;

  • a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot;
  • a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding;
  • asthma;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • fluid retention.

Taking diclofenac 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 passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Diclofenac is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take diclofenac?

Different brands of diclofenac contain different amounts of this medicine, and may have different uses. If you switch brands, your dose needs may change. Follow your doctor’s instructions about how much medicine to take. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the brand you receive at the pharmacy.

 

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Use the lowest dose that is effective in treating your condition.

Take Zorvolex on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet or delayed-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Dissolve Cambia powder in to 2 ounces of water. Do not use any other type of liquid. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. Cambia works best if you take it on an empty stomach.

Call your doctor if your headache does not completely go away after taking Cambia. Do not take a second dose of diclofenac powder without your doctor’s advice.

If you use diclofenac long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take 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 taking diclofenac?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.

Avoid taking aspirin or other NSAIDs while you are taking this medicine.

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.

Diclofenac side effects

  • Abdominal or stomach bloating, burning, cramping, or pain
  • belching
  • bloody or black, tarry stools
  • cloudy urine
  • constipation
  • decrease in urine output or decrease in urine-concentrating ability
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • feeling of indigestion
  • headache
  • increased bleeding time
  • itching skin or rash
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain in the chest below the breastbone
  • pale skin
  • severe stomach pain
  • swelling
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • weight loss

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