ARTHROTEC (Page 3 of 11)

5.4 Hypertension

NSAIDs, including diclofenac, a component of ARTHROTEC, can lead to new onset of hypertension or worsening of pre-existing hypertension, either of which may contribute to the increased incidence of CV events. Patients taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, thiazide diuretics, or loop diuretics may have impaired response to these therapies when taking NSAIDs [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Monitor blood pressure (BP) during the initiation of NSAID treatment and throughout the course of therapy.

5.5 Heart Failure and Edema

The Coxib and traditional NSAID Trialists’ Collaboration meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials demonstrated an approximately two-fold increase in hospitalizations for heart failure in COX-2 selective-treated patients and nonselective NSAID-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients. In a Danish National Registry study of patients with heart failure, NSAID use increased the risk of MI, hospitalization for heart failure, and death.

Additionally, fluid retention and edema have been observed in some patients treated with NSAIDs. Use of diclofenac may blunt the CV effects of several therapeutic agents used to treat these medical conditions (e.g., diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or angiotensin receptor blockers [ARBs]) [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Avoid the use of ARTHROTEC in patients with severe heart failure unless the benefits are expected to outweigh the risk of worsening heart failure. If ARTHROTEC is used in patients with severe heart failure, monitor patients for signs of worsening heart failure.

5.6 Renal Toxicity and Hyperkalemia

Renal Toxicity

Long-term administration of NSAIDs has resulted in renal papillary necrosis and other renal injury. Renal toxicity has also been seen in patients in whom renal prostaglandins have a compensatory role in the maintenance of renal perfusion. In these patients, administration of an NSAID may cause a dose-dependent reduction in prostaglandin formation and, secondarily, in renal blood flow, which may precipitate overt renal decompensation. Patients at greatest risk of this reaction are those with impaired renal function, dehydration, hypovolemia, heart failure, liver dysfunction, those taking diuretics and ACE inhibitors or ARBs, and the elderly. Discontinuation of NSAID therapy is usually followed by recovery to the pretreatment state.

No information is available from controlled clinical studies regarding the use of ARTHROTEC in patients with advanced renal disease. The renal effects of ARTHROTEC may hasten the progression of renal dysfunction in patients with pre-existing renal disease.

Correct volume status in dehydrated or hypovolemic patients prior to initiating ARTHROTEC. Monitor renal function in patients with renal or hepatic impairment, heart failure, dehydration, or hypovolemia during use of ARTHROTEC [see Drug Interactions (7)] . Avoid the use of ARTHROTEC in patients with advanced renal disease unless the benefits are expected to outweigh the risk of worsening renal function. If ARTHROTEC is used in patients with advanced renal disease, monitor patients for signs of worsening renal function.


Increases in serum potassium concentration, including hyperkalemia, with use of NSAIDs, even in some patients without renal impairment. In patients with normal renal function, these effects have been attributed to a hyporeninemic-hypoaldosteronism state.

5.7 Anaphylactic Reactions

ARTHROTEC has been associated with anaphylactic reactions in patients with and without known hypersensitivity to the individual components of diclofenac sodium and misoprostol and in patients with aspirin-sensitive asthma [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.8)].

Seek emergency help if an anaphylactic reaction occurs.

5.8 Exacerbation of Asthma Related to Aspirin Sensitivity

A subpopulation of patients with asthma may have aspirin-sensitive asthma which may include chronic rhinosinusitis complicated by nasal polyps; severe, potentially fatal bronchospasm; and/or intolerance to aspirin and other NSAIDs. Because cross-reactivity between aspirin and other NSAIDs has been reported in such aspirin-sensitive patients, ARTHROTEC is contraindicated in patients with this form of aspirin sensitivity [see Contraindications (4)]. When ARTHROTEC is used in patients with preexisting asthma (without known aspirin sensitivity), monitor patients for changes in the signs and symptoms of asthma.

5.9 Serious Skin Reactions

NSAIDs, including diclofenac, a component of ARTHROTEC, can cause serious skin adverse reactions such as exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which can be fatal. These serious events may occur without warning. Inform patients about the signs and symptoms of serious skin reactions, and to discontinue the use of ARTHROTEC at the first appearance of skin rash or any other sign of hypersensitivity. ARTHROTEC is contraindicated in patients with previous serious skin reactions to NSAIDs [see Contraindications (4)].

5.10 Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)

Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) has been reported in patients taking NSAIDs such as ARTHROTEC. Some of these events have been fatal or life-threatening. DRESS typically, although not exclusively, presents with fever, rash, lymphadenopathy, and/or facial swelling. Other clinical manifestations may include hepatitis, nephritis, hematological abnormalities, myocarditis, or myositis. Sometimes symptoms of DRESS may resemble an acute viral infection. Eosinophilia is often present. Because this disorder is variable in its presentation, other organ systems not noted here may be involved. It is important to note that early manifestations of hypersensitivity, such as fever or lymphadenopathy, may be present even though rash is not evident. If such signs or symptoms are present, discontinue ARTHROTEC and evaluate the patient immediately.

5.11 Fetal Toxicity

ARTHROTEC is contraindicated in pregnant women. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Verify the pregnancy status of females of reproductive potential prior to initiation of ARTHROTEC. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with ARTHROTEC [see Contraindications (4), Use in Specific Populations (8.1, 8.3)].


Misoprostol during pregnancy can result in maternal and fetal harm.


Premature Closure of Fetal Ductus Arteriosus

NSAIDs, including diclofenac, increase the risk of premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus at about 30 weeks of gestation and later.

Oligohydramnios/Neonatal Renal Impairment

Use of NSAIDs, including diclofenac, at about 20 weeks gestation or later in pregnancy may cause fetal renal dysfunction leading to oligohydramnios and, in some cases, neonatal renal impairment. These adverse outcomes are seen, on average, after days to weeks of treatment, although oligohydramnios has been infrequently reported as soon as 48 hours after NSAID initiation. Oligohydramnios is often, but not always, reversible with treatment discontinuation. Complications of prolonged oligohydramnios may, for example, include limb contractures and delayed lung maturation. In some postmarketing cases of impaired neonatal renal function, invasive procedures such as exchange transfusion or dialysis were required [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].

5.12 Hematologic Toxicity

Anemia has occurred in NSAID-treated patients. This may be due to occult or gross blood loss, fluid retention, or an incompletely described effect on erythropoiesis. If a patient treated with ARTHROTEC has any signs or symptoms of anemia, monitor hemoglobin or hematocrit.

NSAIDs, including diclofenac a component ARTHROTEC, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Co-morbid conditions such as coagulation disorders or concomitant use of warfarin and other anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents (e.g., aspirin), and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may increase this risk. Monitor these patients for signs of bleeding [see Drug Interactions (7)].

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