DiMentho (Page 3 of 5)

8. Use in Specific Populations

8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category C prior to 30-weeks gestation; Category D starting 30-weeks gestation.

Risk Summary

Use of NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium, during the third trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus. Avoid use of NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium, in pregnant women starting at 30 weeks of gestation (third trimester).

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of diclofenac sodium in pregnant women. Data from observational studies regarding potential embryofetal risks of NSAID use in women in the first or second trimesters of pregnancy are inconclusive. In the general U.S. population, all clinically recognized pregnancies, regardless of drug exposure, have a background rate of 2 to 4% for major malformations, and 15 to 20% for pregnancy loss. Published reproductive and developmental studies of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO, the solvent used in Diclofenac Sodium) are equivocal as to potential teratogenicity. In animal reproduction studies, no evidence of teratogenicity was observed in mice, rats, or rabbits given diclofenac daily during the period of organogenesis at doses up to approximately 0.6, 0.6, and 1.3 times, respectively, the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of diclofenac sodium, despite the presence of maternal and fetal toxicity at these doses [see Data]. Based on animal data, prostaglandins have been shown to have an important role in endometrial vascular permeability, blastocyst implantation, and decidualization. In animal studies, administration of prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors such as diclofenac, resulted in increased pre- and post-implantation loss.

Clinical Considerations

Labor or Delivery

There are no studies on the effects of diclofenac sodium during labor or delivery. In animal studies, NSAIDs, including diclofenac, inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, cause delayed parturition, and increase the incidence of stillbirth.


Animal data

Reproductive and developmental studies in animals demonstrated that diclofenac sodium administration during organogenesis did not produce teratogenicity despite the induction of maternal toxicity and fetal toxicity in mice at oral doses up to 20 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.6 times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD] of diclofenac sodium, 154 mg/day, based on body surface area (BSA) comparison), and in rats and rabbits at oral doses up to 10 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.6 and 1.3 times, respectively, the MRHD based on BSA comparison). Published reproductive and developmental studies of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO, the solvent used in diclofenac sodium) are equivocal as to potential teratogenicity.

In rats, maternally toxic doses of diclofenac were associated with dystocia, prolonged gestation, reduced fetal weights and growth, and reduced fetal survival.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Based on available data, diclofenac may be present in human milk. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for CATAFLAM and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from the CATAFLAM or from the underlying maternal condition.


One woman treated orally with a diclofenac salt, 150 mg/day, had a milk diclofenac level of 100 mcg/L, equivalent to an infant dose of about 0.03 mg/kg/day. Diclofenac was not detectable in breast milk in 12 women using diclofenac (after either 100 mg/day orally for 7 days or a single 50 mg intramuscular dose administered in the immediate postpartum period).

8.3 Females and Males of Reproductive Potential



Based on the mechanism of action, the use of prostaglandin-mediated NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium, may delay or prevent rupture of ovarian follicles, which has been associated with reversible infertility in some women. Published animal studies have shown that administration of prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors has the potential to disrupt prostaglandin-mediated follicular rupture required for ovulation. Small studies in women treated with NSAIDs have also shown a reversible delay in ovulation. Consider withdrawal of NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium, in women who have difficulties conceiving or who are undergoing investigation of infertility.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Elderly patients, compared to younger patients, are a greater risk for NSAID-associated serious cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and/or renal adverse reactions. If the anticipated benefit for the elderly patient outweighs these potential risks, start dosing at the low end of the dosing range, and monitor patients for adverse effects [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.6, 5.13)].

Of the 911 patients treated with diclofenac sodium in seven controlled, Phase 3 clinical trials, 444 subjects were 65 years of age and over. There was no age-related difference in the incidence of adverse events. Of the 793 patients treated with diclofenac sodium in one open-labeled safety trial, 334 subjects were 65 years of age and over including 107 subjects 75 and over. There was no difference in the incidence of adverse events with long-term exposure to diclofenac sodium for this elderly population.

9. Overdosage

Symptoms following acute NSAID overdosages have been typically limited to lethargy, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and epigastric pain, which have been generally reversible with supportive care. Gastrointestinal bleeding has occurred. Hypertension, acute renal failure, respiratory depression, and coma have occurred, but were rare. [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1, 5.2. 5.4, 5.6)].

Manage patients with symptomatic and supportive care following an NSAID overdosage. There are no specific antidotes. Emesis is not recommended due to a possibility of aspiration and subsequent respiratory irritation by DMSO contained in diclofenac sodium. Consider activated charcoal (60 to 100 grams in adults, 1 to 2 grams per kg of body weight in pediatric patients) and/or osmotic cathartic in symptomatic patients seen within four hours of ingestion or in patients with a large overdosage (5 to 10 times the recommended dosage). Forced diuresis, alkalization of urine, hemodialysis, or hemoperfusion may not be useful due to high protein binding.

For additional information about overdose treatment, contact a poison control center (1-800-222-1222).

10. Description

Diclofenac sodium topical solution 1.5% is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, available as a clear, colorless to faintly pink-orange solution for topical application.

Diclofenac sodium topical solution contains 1.5% w/w diclofenac sodium, a benzeneacetic acid derivative that is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), designated chemically as 2-[(2,6-dichlorophenyl) amino]-benzeneacetic acid, monosodium salt. The molecular weight is 318.14. Its molecular formula is C14  H10  Cl2  NNaO2 and it has the following structural formula:

Each 1 mL of solution contains 16.05 mg of diclofenac sodium. In addition, diclofenac sodium topical solution contains the following inactive ingredients: dimethyl sulfoxide USP (DMSO, 45.5% w/w), ethanol, glycerin, propylene glycol and purified water.

11. Clinical Pharmacology

11.1 Mechanism of Action

Diclofenac has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic properties. The mechanism of action of diclofenac sodium, like that of other NSAIDs, is not completely understood but involves inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2).

Diclofenac is a potent inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis in vitro. Diclofenac concentrations reached during therapy have produced in vivo effects. Prostaglandins sensitize afferent nerves and potentiate the action of bradykinin in inducing pain in animal models. Prostaglandins are mediators of inflammation. Because diclofenac is an inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis, its mode of action may be due to a decrease of prostaglandins in peripheral tissues.

11.2 Pharmacokinetics

After topical administration to healthy human volunteers of single and multiple maximum doses of diclofenac sodium topical solution, 40 drops (approximately 1.2 mL) to each knee (80 drops total dose), the following diclofenac pharmacokinetic parameters were obtained: (see Table 3).

Table 3: Single-Dose (80 drops) and Multiple Dose (80 drops four times daily for 7 days) Diclofenac Sodium Topical Solution Pharmacokinetic Parameters
Diclofenac Sodium
Pharmacokinetic Parameters Normal Adults [N=18]

(Age: 18 to 55 years)

Normal Adults [N=19]

(Age: 18 to 55 years)

Single Dose Multiple Dose Four times

daily for 7 days

AUC0-t 177.5 ± 72.6 ng∙h/mL 695.4 ± 348.9 ng∙h/mL
AUC0-inf 196.3 ± 68.5 ng∙h/mL 745.2 ± 374.7 ng∙h/mL
Plasma Cmax 8.1 ± 5.9 ng/mL 19.4 ± 9.3 ng/mL
Plasma Tmax  (h) 11.0 ± 6.4 4.0 ± 6.5
Plasma t1/2  (h) 36.7 ± 20.8 79.0 ± 38.1
Kel (h-1) 0.024 ± 0.010 0.011 ± 0.004
CL/F (L/h) 244.7 ± 84.7*
*Apparent total body clearance


Diclofenac systemic exposure from diclofenac sodium topical solution application (4 times daily for 1 week) was approximately 1/3 of the diclofenac systemic exposure from the diclofenac topical gel application (twice daily for 4 weeks).


Diclofenac is more than 99% bound to human serum proteins, primarily to albumin.

Diclofenac diffuses into and out of the synovial fluid. Diffusion into the joint occurs when plasma levels are higher than those in the synovial fluid, after which the process reverses and synovial fluid levels are higher than plasma levels. It is not known whether diffusion into the joint plays a role in the effectiveness of diclofenac.



Five diclofenac metabolites have been identified in human plasma and urine. The metabolites include 4hydroxy-, 5-hydroxy-, 3-hydroxy-, 4,5-dihydroxy- and 3-hydroxy-4-methoxy diclofenac. The major diclofenac metabolite, 4-hydroxy-diclofenac, has very weak pharmacologic activity. The formation of 4-hydroxy diclofenac is primarily mediated by CPY2C9. Both diclofenac and its oxidative metabolites undergo glucuronidation or sulfation followed by biliary excretion. Acylglucuronidation mediated by UGT2B7 and oxidation mediated by CPY2C8 may also play a role in diclofenac metabolism. CYP3A4 is responsible for the formation of minor metabolites, 5-hydroxy and 3-hydroxy-diclofenac.


Diclofenac is eliminated through metabolism and subsequent urinary and biliary excretion of the glucuronide and the sulfate conjugates of the metabolites.

Little or no free unchanged diclofenac is excreted in the urine.

Special Populations

Pediatric: The pharmacokinetics of diclofenac sodium topical solution has not been investigated in pediatric patients.

Race: Pharmacokinetic differences due to race have not been studied.

Drug Interaction Studies

Aspirin: When NSAIDs were administered with aspirin, the protein binding of NSAIDs were reduced, although the clearance of free NSAID was not altered. The clinical significance of this interaction is not known. See Table 1 for clinically significant drug interactions of NSAIDs with aspirin [see Drug Interactions (7) ].

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