DFS 1.5%/MS 25%/MENTH 6%/CAP 0.025% PAK (Page 2 of 7)

5.4 Hypertension

NSAIDs, including diclofenac, can lead to new onset or worsening of preexisting hypertension, either of which may contribute to the increased incidence of CV events. Use NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, with caution in patients with hypertension. Monitor blood pressure (BP) closely during the initiation of NSAID treatment and throughout the course of therapy.

Patients taking ACE-inhibitors, thiazides or loop diuretics may have impaired response to these therapies when taking NSAIDs.

5.5 Congestive Heart Failure and Edema

Fluid retention and edema have been observed in some patients treated with NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution. Use diclofenac sodium topical solution with caution in patients with fluid retention or heart failure.

5.6 Renal Effects

Use caution when initiating treatment with diclofenac sodium topical solution in patients with considerable dehydration.

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, heart failure, liver dysfunction, those taking diuretics and ACE-inhibitors, 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 diclofenac sodium topical solution in patients with advanced renal disease. Therefore, treatment with diclofenac sodium topical solution is not recommended in patients with advanced renal disease. If diclofenac sodium topical solution therapy is initiated, close monitoring of the patient’s renal function is advisable.

5.7 Anaphylactoid Reactions

As with other NSAIDs, anaphylactoid reactions may occur in patients without prior exposure to diclofenac sodium topical solution. Do not prescribe diclofenac sodium topical solution to patients with the aspirin triad. This symptom complex typically occurs in asthmatic patients who experience rhinitis with or without nasal polyps, or who exhibit severe, potentially fatal bronchospasm after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs [ see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.10)]. Seek emergency help in cases where an anaphylactoid reaction occurs.

5.8 Skin Reactions

Do not apply diclofenac sodium topical solution to open skin wounds, infections, inflammations, or exfoliative dermatitis, as it may affect absorption and tolerability of the drug. NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, can cause serious skin adverse events 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 manifestations, and discontinue use of the drug at the first appearance of skin rash or any other signs of hypersensitivity.

5.9 Pregnancy

Diclofenac sodium topical solution should not be used by pregnant or nursing women or those intending to become pregnant.

5.10 Preexisting Asthma

Patients with asthma may have aspirin-sensitive asthma. The use of aspirin in patients with aspirin-sensitive asthma has been associated with severe bronchospasm, which can be fatal. Since cross-reactivity, including bronchospasm, between aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has been reported in such aspirin-sensitive patients, do not administer diclofenac sodium topical solution to patients with this form of aspirin sensitivity and use with caution in patients with preexisting asthma.

5.11 Sun Exposure

Instruct patients to avoid exposure to natural or artificial sunlight on treated knee(s) because studies in animals indicated topical diclofenac treatment resulted in an earlier onset of ultraviolet light-induced skin tumors. The potential effects of diclofenac sodium topical solution on skin response to ultraviolet damage in humans are not known.

5.12 Eye Exposure

Avoid contact of diclofenac sodium topical solution with eyes and mucosa. Advise patients that if eye contact occurs, immediately wash out the eye with water or saline and consult a physician if irritation persists for more than an hour.

5.13 Oral Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Concomitant use of oral NSAIDs with diclofenac sodium topical solution resulted in a higher rate of rectal hemorrhage, more frequent abnormal creatinine, urea and hemoglobin. Therefore, do not use combination therapy with diclofenac sodium topical solution and an oral NSAID unless the benefit outweighs the risk and conduct periodic laboratory evaluations.

5.14 Corticosteroid Treatment

Diclofenac sodium topical solution cannot be expected to substitute for corticosteroids or to treat corticosteroid insufficiency. Abrupt discontinuation of corticosteroids may lead to exacerbation of corticosteroid-response illness. For patients on prolonged corticosteroid therapy, taper slowly if a decision is made to discontinue corticosteroids.

5.15 Inflammation

The pharmacological activity of diclofenac sodium topical solution in reducing inflammation, and possibly fever, may diminish the utility of these diagnostic signs in detecting complications of presumed noninfectious, painful conditions.

5.16 Hematological Effects

The effects of diclofenac sodium topical solution on platelet function were studied in 10 healthy subjects administered 80 drops four times a day for 7 days. There was no significant change in platelet aggregation following one week of treatment [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.4)].

Anemia is sometimes seen in patients receiving NSAIDs. This may be due to fluid retention, occult or gross GI blood loss, or an incompletely described effect upon erythropoiesis. Check hemoglobin or hematocrit of patients on diclofenac sodium topical solution if they exhibit any signs or symptoms of anemia or blood loss.

NSAIDs inhibit platelet aggregation and have been shown to prolong bleeding time in some patients. Unlike aspirin, their effect on platelet function is quantitatively less, of shorter duration and reversible. Carefully monitor patients receiving diclofenac sodium topical solution who may be adversely affected by alteration in platelet function, such as those with coagulation disorders or patients receiving anticoagulants.

5.17 Monitoring

Because serious GI tract ulcerations and bleeding can occur without warning symptoms in patients taking NSAIDs, monitor patients for signs or symptoms of GI bleeding. Check CBC and a chemistry profile periodically in patients on long-term treatment with NSAIDs. Discontinue diclofenac sodium topical solution if abnormal liver tests or renal tests persist or worsen.


6.1 Clinical Studies Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of another drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trial of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The data described below reflect exposure to diclofenac sodium topical solution of 911 patients treated between 4 and 12 weeks (mean duration of 49 days) in seven Phase 3 controlled trials, as well as exposure of 793 patients treated in an open-label study, including 463 patients treated for at least 6 months, and 144 patients treated for at least 12 months. The population mean age was approximately 60 years, 89% of patients were Caucasians, 64% were females, and all patients had primary osteoarthritis. The most common adverse events with diclofenac sodium topical solution were application site skin reactions. These events were the most common reason for withdrawing from the studies.

Application site reactions:

In controlled trials, the most common treatment related adverse events in patients receiving diclofenac sodium topical solution were application site skin reactions. Application site reactions were characterized by one or more of the following: dryness, erythema, induration, vesicles, paresthesia, pruritus, vasodilation, acne, and urticaria. The most frequent of these reactions were dry skin (32%), contact dermatitis characterized by skin erythema and induration (9%), contact dermatitis with vescicles (2%) and pruritus (4%). In one controlled trial, a higher rate of contact dermatitis with vesicles (4%) was observed after treatment of 152 subjects with the combination of diclofenac sodium topical solution and oral diclofenac. In the open label uncontrolled long-term safety study, contact dermatitis occurred in 13% and contact dermatitis with vesicles in 10% of patients, generally within the first 6 months of exposure, leading to a withdrawal rate for an application site event of 14%.

Adverse events common to the NSAID class:

In controlled trials, subjects treated with diclofenac sodium topical solution experienced some adverse events associated with the NSAID class more frequently than subjects using placebo (constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, nausea, flatulence, abdominal pain, edema; see Table 1). The combination of diclofenac sodium topical solution and oral diclofenac, compared to oral diclofenac alone, resulted in a higher rate of rectal hemorrhage (3% vs. less than 1%), and more frequent abnormal creatinine (12% vs. 7%), urea (20% vs. 12%), and hemoglobin (13% vs. 9%), but no difference in elevation of liver transaminases.

Table 1: lists all adverse reactions occurring in =1% of patients receiving diclofenac sodium topical solution, where the rate in the diclofenac sodium topical solution group exceeded placebo, from seven controlled studies conducted in patients with osteoarthritis. Since these trials were of different durations, these percentages do not capture cumulative rates of occurrence.

Table 1: Adverse Reactions occurring in =1% of patients treated with Diclofenac Sodium Topical Solution in placebo and oral diclofenac-controlled trials.
Treatment Group: Diclofenac Sodium Topical Solution N=911 Topical Placebo N=332
Adverse Reaction * N(%) N(%)
Preferred Term according to COSTART
Dry Skin (Application Site) 292 (32) 17 (5)
Contact Dermatitis (Application Site) 83 (9) 6 (2)
Dyspepsia 72 (8) 13 (4)
Abdominal Pain 54 (6) 10 (3)
Flatulence 35 (4) 1 (<1)
Pruritus (Application Site) 34 (4) 7 (2)
Diarrhea 33 (4) 7 (2)
Nausea 33 (4) 3 (1)
Pharyngitis 40 (4) 13 (4)
Constipation 29 (3) 1 (<1)
Edema 26 (3) 0
Rash (Non-Application Site) 25 (3) 5 (2)
Infection 25 (3) 8 (2)
Ecchymosis 19 (2) 1 (<1)
Dry Skin (Non-Application Site) 19 (2) 1 (<1)
Contact Dermatitis, vesicles (Application Site) 18 (2) 0
Paresthesia (Non-Application Site) 14 (2) 3 (<1)
Accidental Injury 22 (2) 7 (2)
Pruritus (Non-Application Site) 15 (2) 2 (<1)
Sinusitis 10 (1) 2 (<1)
Halitosis 11 (1) 1 (<1)
Application Site Reaction (not otherwise specified) 11 (1) 3 (<1)

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