Diclofenac refers to the generic name for a prescription medicine for relief of pain, tenderness, inflammation, and stiffness that are related to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, andankylosing spondylitis or arthritis that affects the spine. Diclofenac immediate-release or short acting tablets are also used to relieve painful menstrual periods and other kinds of pain.
Diclofenax belongs to the category of medicines called “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatments” or NSAIDs and works by preventing the body’s production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation.
Diclofenac is produced and marketed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals under the brand names Cataflamand Voltaren-XR. Pfizer also produce diclofenac under the brand name Arthrotec.
Heart Attack or Sroke: Diclofenac Health Risks
Patients who are taking NSAIDs, other than aspirin, like diclofenac will have greater chances of having a heart attack or stroke compared to people who do not use this medication. This condition may occur without warning and can even be fatal and causes death. The risks are greater for people who are taking NSAIDs for a long time.
If you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part of the body, or slurred speech, get an emergency help immediately. If you are scheduled for a coronary artery bypass graft or CABG, a type of heart surgery, you must not take diclofenac right before or right after the surgery.
Ulcers: Diclofenac Health Risk
NSAIDs like diclofenac can cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach lining or intestine. These conditions may develop anytime within the treatment, or may occur without warning symptoms, and can cause death. The risk can be greater for those who are taking NSAIDs for long period, to those who are older, those with poor health, or people who drink big amount of alcohol while taking diclofenac.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, discontinue taking the diclofenac and contact your doctor or healthcare professional:
- Stomach pain
- Vomiting a substance that appears like blood or coffee grounds
- Blood in the stool
- Black and tarry stools
Diclofenac Safety Measures
Adhere to all appointments with your doctor or healthcare professional, and the laboratory. Your doctor or healthcare professional will monitor your symptoms thoroughly and may recommend some tests to check the responses of your body to diclofenac.
Make sure that you inform your healthcare professional how you are feeling so that he/she can prescribe the right dose to treat your condition with the lowest risks of side effects.
Your healthcare professional or pharmacist will provide you with the manufacturer’s patient information sheet, also called as Medication Guide, when you start your treatment with diclofenac, and every time you refill your prescription.
What shall I say to the healthcare professional?
Inform the doctor or the healthcare professional if you have:
- Allergies with diclofenac, aspirin or NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) or other medications, or any of the inactive components of diclofenac tablets or extended release tablets.
- You or any of your family member has or had heart problems, heart attack, stroke, or if you smoke, if you had history of having high cholesterol, hypertension, or diabetes.
- Any history with ulcers, bleeding of intestine or stomach, or other bleeding problems or disorders.
- Kidney and/or liver problems
- Lupus, a condition where the body attacks its own tissues and organs, including joints, blood, kidneys, and skin
- Asthma problems, particularly if you are suffering from frequent stuffed or runny nose or nasal polyps, a condition of swelling in the nose lining.
- Experience of swelling of the hands, feet, lower legs, and/or ankles
- Porphyria problems, a condition characterized by an abnormal increase of some natural substances by the liver
- You are using diclofenac before any surgery, including dental surgery
- You are pregnant, particularly within the last few months of pregnancy period, become pregnant while taking diclofenac, or planning to be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding your baby.
Diclofenac and Its Side Effects
Be sure to inform your doctor or the healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms related with the use of diclofenac:
- Ringing in the ears
- Gas or bloating
Contact your doctor immediately when you have the following severe side effects:
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight gain
- Upset stomach
- Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- Lack or energy or extreme tiredness
- Fast heart beat
- Symptoms similar to flu
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Pale skin
- Itching, blisters, and rashes
- Difficulty in breathing or in swallowing
- Inflammation of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, hands, feet, lower legs, ankles
- Back pain
- Difficulty or painful urination
- Cloudy, bloody, or discolored urine
Diclofenac Interaction with Other Drugs or Foods
Dicolofenac and other medicines can work together. Inform your healthcare professional or doctor about all the medicines you have taken, including the prescription and non-prescription treatments, herbal supplements, vitamins, and:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors like benazepril (Lotensin), enalapril (Vasotec), captopril (Capoten), lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil), fosinopril (Monopril), quinapril (Accupril), moexipril (Univasc), trandolapril (Mavik), perindopril (Aceon), ramipril (Altace)
- Digoxin (Lanoxin)
- Diuretics (“water pills”)
- Insulin and oral treatments for diabetes
- Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral)
- Methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
- Lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith)
- Other oral steroids including dexamethasome (Dexone, Decadron), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone)
You may continue your usual diet unless your doctor or healthcare professional advises you otherwise.
Obtaining Legal Assistance
Since all medications or treatments have their side effects, the drug manufacturer has the obligation to produce products that are reasonably safe for human consumption, and inform the medical community and the general public about the potential health risks the drugs may have. If the manufacturer is unable to do so, then he/she will be held legally liable if the patients are injured as a consequence of using the drugs without sufficient warnings or the unreasonable nature of the drug, under the legal theory called as “product liability.”
In cases when you or any of your family members are experiencing any adverse symptoms or rare medical conditions while taking Diclofenac, you must initially contact your doctor or healthcare professional. Then, you can find for a reliable and experienced product liability lawyer and discuss any possible legal options you can take to safeguard your right to a legal remedy for any injury caused by using diclofenac.