Diclofenac sodium is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is primarily used to help treat the symptoms of arthritis. These medications can help reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by the disease to help provide comfort to the patient. However, NSAID medication cannot cure arthritis or any similar diseases. You may only use this medication with a valid prescription from your doctor. Much of the use and dosing of diclofenac sodium will be dependent on the patient's condition, reaction to the medication and the disease being treated.
Indications and Usage
Diclofenac sodium is sold under the brand names Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Voltaren-XR and Zipsor. These medications are used to help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, pain, inflammation, swelling, stiffness and joint pain. In some cases, this medication will be used as part of a treatment regimen for ankylosing spondylitis, menstrual cramps or acute migraine attacks.
Diclofenac sodium is available in enteric coated tablets, extended release tablets, capsules, powder or solution, liquid filled capsule or a traditional tablet form. Dosing and instructions will vary based on the condition that is to be treated. You should not take more than instructed as this can lead to an increased risk of side effects. If you are using this medication for arthritis, you will usually be ordered to take this medication once a day for up to two weeks or until you begin to feel better. It may take several weeks until you feel the full effects of the medication.
Most forms of diclofenac sodium can be taken with or without food, though the oral solution should be taken on an empty stomach. If you are using the oral solution, only open the packaging right as you are about to use it. Mix the contents of one packed with up to 2 ounces of water and drink immediately. Do not use any other liquid to mix this medication.
Diclofenac Sodium Dosage
Diclofenac sodium is available in 25, 50, and 75 mg tablets. Adults using diclofenac sodium to help treat osteoarthritis will be given 100-150 mg per day in divided doses. Those treating rheumatoid arthritis will be given 150-200 mg per day in divided doses. Adults treating ankylosing spondylitis will be treated with 100-125 mg of diclofenac sodium per day, which will be administered in 25 mg doses throughout the day as necessary. Doses for this condition are often given just before the patient goes to bed.
Diclofenac sodium may cause an increase in liver enzymes which could be dangerous for someone already suffering from these conditions. Talk to your doctor about this risk to determine if it is safe for you to use this medication.
No NSAID medication should be used late in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. These medications can be transferred to your child which can cause dependency as well as potential birth defects. Talk with your doctor about how to manage your condition if you become pregnant while using diclofenac sodium.
Diclofenac Sodium Side Effects
Common side effects of diclofenac sodium include heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, unexplained bleeding, ulcers in the stomach or intestines, gas, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness, swelling, headache, itching, ringing in the ears or unexplained rash. These side effects occur in up to 10 percent of users. In most cases these side effects are not cause for alarm, but you should report them to your doctor right away to determine if you need additional treatment or an alteration in your prescription size.
More severe side effects to diclofenac sodium include fever, infection, congestive heart failure, hypertension, ecchymosis, esophagitis, depression, asthma, blurred vision, alopecia, or cystitis. Inform your doctor right away if these conditions begin to develop while you are using this medication.
Rare but serious side effects to diclofenac sodium include anaphylactic reactions, arrhythmia, colitis, liver failure, hemolytic anemia, hyperglycemia, convulsions, coma, hallucinations, respiratory depression, angioedema, toxic epidermal necrolysis, conjunctivitis and hearing impairment. If you begin to suffer from any of these symptoms, talk to a medical professional right away about whether or not it is safe to continue using diclofenac sodium. If at any point you feel as though your life is in danger due to your side effects, contact emergency medical services immediately.
If you begin to suffer from lethargy, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting or epigastric pain you may be suffering from an overdose of your medication. Contact emergency medical services immediately to get treatment to reverse these effects. If possible, have information ready regarding how much of your medication you have taken and when so you can help these professionals determine how best to assist you.
Medications known to negatively impact diclofenac sodium include blood thinners, cyclosporine, isoniazid, lithium, methotrexate, prombenecid, rifampin, secobarbital, sertraline, sulfamethoxazole, teniposide, zarfirlukast, diuretics, steroids, cholesterol medication, blood pressure medication or antifungal medication. Let your doctor know about any medications you may be taking, including over the counter drugs to ensure that you are not using anything that could negatively impact your treatment.
Avoid taking escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine or sertraline while using diclofenac sodium. These medications may cause you to bruise or bleed more easily, which could cause damage to your body.
You should not take NSAID medications including naproxen, ibuprofen, indomethacin, meloxicam or others while using diclofenac sodium. You should also avoid using aspirin while on this medication. In addition to increasing the risk of bruising or bleeding, these medications can lead to overdose like symptoms due to the similar function to those of your prescription. Many cold or allergy medications also contain these medications, so read the labels carefully to ensure that you are not ingesting a product that could cause you harm.
Substances that may affect your body while on diclofenac sodium include alcohol. Ingesting alcohol while using this medication can increase your risk of stomach bleeding. You should also avoid sun exposure or tanning beds as intense exposure to UV rays may impact you more severely while on this medication. If you will be spending time outdoors, wear protective clothing and use a sunblock that contains at least SPF 30 protection.