Diclofenac is a medicine used for pain relief. It is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) used for curing inflammatory disorders, controlling painful menstruation, and reducing joint stiffness in arthritis patients. You can take it orally or intravenously, or administer it as ointments, gels, or suppositories. It is effective for up to eight hours. You can take diclofenac on an empty stomach or with misoprostol, another medicine used to reduce stomach disorders.
Diclofenac’s uses are primarily for curing pain and swelling in chronic problems like gout, arthritic flare-ups, menstrual cramps, kidney stones, and gallbladder stones. It can be used to reduce fever and relieve acute migraine pain. You can also use it to reduce pain resulting from minor scratches, strains, sprains, and sunburns. Diclofenac eye drops are used for decreasing eye inflammation that is not caused by bacterial infection, like corneal abrasions.
Diclofenac is a very effective painkiller. However, long-term use can cause side effects, like:
1. Is diclofenac safe in pregnancy?
No. Diclofenac is strictly prohibited in the third trimester of pregnancy as it may cause serious heart and kidney damage to the growing fetus. It can also cause miscarriage, premature delivery, and bleeding in the fetus, and reduce the amniotic fluid in the womb causing fetal death. Diclofenac is also not recommended for breastfeeding mothers.
2. How often can you use diclofenac?
You should take diclofenac tablets and suppositories 2 to a maximum of 3 times per day. You can use diclofenac gel or skin patches a maximum of 4 times per day, with a minimum gap of 4 hours between each application. Always consult a physician about the dosage amount and instructions of proper intake.
3. How does diclofenac work?
Diclofenac works by inhibiting the hormones that cause pain and inflammatory reactions, like prostaglandins. It is highly soluble in lipids. Hence, it can pass the blood-brain barrier to decrease the synthesis of molecules that can cause pain. This makes it unique among other NSAIDs. It is effective for 11 hours for joint pain.
4. How long can you take diclofenac?
You should take diclofenac strictly as per the doctor's prescription. Minor sprains like back pain or toothache require 1?2 days to recover. For more chronic pain like arthritis, long-term use is needed. Your doctor would advise the lowest dose for the briefest time, sometimes combined with other medicines for minimal side effects.
5. Is diclofenac safe?
Diclofenac is safe for moderate and mild problems. However, long-term usage has many side effects like ulcer formation, stomach disorder, dizziness, nausea, and temporary loss of cognitive abilities. The most serious cases can cause renal failure and heart attacks. So, check with your doctor if you feel sick after taking the medicine.
6. How to take diclofenac?
You should take diclofenac depending on the need and after proper medical consultation. Ingest the diclofenac tablets or capsules whole with water. Never break, crush, or chew them as that destroys its coating. Always urinate first and clean your hands before using suppositories. Apply gels and ointments directly to the affected area.
7. How much diclofenac can you take?
You should take a diclofenac capsule or tablet 2?3 times per day. The normal dose is 75 mg. The new oral dose of 150 mg has been approved for acute cases of spine osteoarthritis. Children above 12 years of age should take 25 mg for a maximum of 4 times daily, only for acute pain.
8. What does diclofenac do to the body?
Diclofenac blocks inflammatory chemicals like prostaglandins and leukotrienes (pro-inflammatory agents) in the body. It decreases pain by preventing the production of pain-causing agents, thus blocking the accumulation of inflammatory chemicals. It also prevents bacterial infection by disrupting bacterial DNA production. It blocks different ion channels on cell surfaces to prevent the passage of inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream.
9. Do you need a prescription for diclofenac?
Yes. You need a prescription for diclofenac tablets, capsules, and suppositories as they are potentially dangerous. Diclofenac gels and patches (for external use only) are available without prescription for pain relief of joints like knees, ankles, elbows, wrists, arms, etc. A topical solution of diclofenac, Pennsaid, is prescribed only for severe osteoarthritis pain alleviation.
10. Can I take paracetamol with diclofenac?
Yes. Medicines with a diclofenac and paracetamol combination are safe to use, as they don't interfere with each other. This combination is used to alleviate multiple symptoms like fever, pain, headache, inflammation, migraine, muscle cramps, and dental pain. It is widely used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, menstrual pain, and post-operative pain relief like dental and uterine surgery. Diclofenac is a powerful analgesic that has antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties. But taking the right dosage is important. You can Consult Our Expert at the Yashoda Hospitals to know about the right dosage of diclofenac that can help relieve several medical disorders.