5.10 Premature Closure of Fetal Ductus Arteriosus

Diclofenac may cause premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus. Avoid use of NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, in pregnant women starting at 30 weeks of gestation (third trimester) [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1) ].

5.11 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 diclofenac sodium topical solution has any signs or symptoms of anemia, monitor hemoglobin or hematocrit.

NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Co-morbid conditions such as coagulation disorders, concomitant use of warfarin, other anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents (e.g., aspirin), 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) ].

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)].

5.12 Masking of Inflammation and Fever

The pharmacological activity of diclofenac sodium topical solution in reducing inflammation, and possibly fever, may diminish the utility of diagnostic signs in detecting infections.

5.13 Laboratory Monitoring

Because serious GI bleeding, hepatotoxicity, and renal injury can occur without warning symptoms or signs, consider monitoring patients on long-term NSAID treatment with a CBC and a chemistry profile periodically [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.3, 5.6)].

5.14 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.

5.15 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.

5.16 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.


The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the labeling:

  • Cardiovascular Thrombotic Events [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]
  • GI Bleeding, Ulceration and Perforation [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]
  • Hepatotoxicity [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]
  • Hypertension [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)]
  • Heart Failure and Edema [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)]
  • Renal Toxicity and Hyperkalemia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)]
  • Anaphylactic Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)]
  • Serious Skin Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)]
  • Hematologic Toxicity [see Warnings and Precautions (5.11)]

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials 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 vesicles (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 (%)
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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