Nonprescription diclofenac topical gel is indicated for the alleviation of arthritis-related pain in specific joints such as the ankles, elbows, feet, hands, knees, and wrists. The prescription diclofenac topical solution is designed to alleviate osteoarthritis-related pain in the knees.
Diclofenac is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and functions by impeding the production of pain-causing substances in the body.
Uses and Dosage
This medication is intended for topical use only. To ensure accurate dosing, utilize the provided dosing card(s) when measuring the prescribed amount. Place the dosing card on a level surface to read the markings clearly, and then apply a uniform line of the medication onto the dosing card, utilizing the markings to measure the appropriate dose.
Gently rub the medication over the entire affected joint, usually four times per day, or as instructed by your physician. The dosing card can be used to apply the medication, but it should not be applied to skin with cuts, infections, or rashes.
If the package directs you to reuse the dosing card, rinse it thoroughly after each use and dry it while holding it by the edges. When you’re ready to dispose of the dosing card, fold it in half with the medication side inside, and discard it in a place inaccessible to children and pets.
Avoid bathing, showering, or washing any treated areas for at least an hour after application. Wait at least ten minutes before covering the treated area with clothing or gloves. Do not bandage, wrap, or apply heat to the treated area, such as with a heating pad.
The dosage of this medication is based on your medical condition and how well you respond to treatment. Do not use more than 16 grams of diclofenac per day on any single joint of the lower body, such as the foot, ankle, or knee, and do not use more than 8 grams per day on any single joint of the upper body, such as the wrist, elbow, or hand. The maximum daily amount of diclofenac that can be used is 32 grams.
Discuss the potential risks and benefits of using this medication with your doctor or pharmacist. To minimize the risk of side effects, use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible. Do not increase the dose, apply it more frequently than prescribed, or use the medication on areas not directed by your physician.
Avoid contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. If the medication comes into contact with these areas, flush them with plenty of water.
For certain conditions, such as arthritis, it may take up to two weeks of regular medication use to obtain the maximum benefits.
If you are using this medication as needed, rather than on a regular schedule, keep in mind that pain relievers are most effective when used at the first signs of pain. If you wait until the pain intensifies, the medication may not be as effective.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- dryness, redness, itching, swelling, pain, hardness, irritation, swelling, scaling, or numbness at application site
- stomach pain
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- difficulty swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, arms, or hands
- unexplained weight gain
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- swelling in the abdomen, ankles, feet, or legs
- worsening of asthma
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- flu-like symptoms
- dark-colored urine
- blisters on skin
- pale skin
- fast heartbeat
- excessive tiredness
Prior to taking diclofenac, disclose any allergies to this medication, aspirin, other NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib), or any other allergies to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Inactive ingredients in this medication may cause allergic reactions or other complications.
Prior to using this medication, you should provide your medical history to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Disclose any previous history of asthma, including worsening of breathing after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs, blood disorders such as anemia and bleeding/clotting problems, growths in the nose such as nasal polyps, heart disease such as a previous heart attack, high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, swelling (edema, fluid retention), and stomach/intestinal/esophageal issues such as bleeding, heartburn, and ulcers.
The use of NSAID medications such as diclofenac may result in kidney problems. Dehydration, heart failure, kidney disease, age, and certain medications may increase the likelihood of such problems. Ensure you consume sufficient fluids as recommended by your doctor to prevent dehydration and contact your doctor immediately if you experience unusual changes in urine color or volume.
This medication may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. Alcohol or cannabis may exacerbate these symptoms. Refrain from driving, operating machinery, or engaging in activities requiring clear vision or alertness until you can do so safely.
This medication may increase the risk of stomach bleeding. Daily use of alcohol and tobacco may further elevate this risk.
Diclofenac may make you more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn or skin blisters/redness. To reduce the risk of such complications, limit sun exposure, avoid tanning beds and sunlamps, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen.
Elderly individuals may be at higher risk of stomach/intestinal bleeding, kidney problems, heart attack, and stroke while using this drug.
If you are of childbearing age, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your healthcare provider. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This medication may harm an unborn baby and cause problems during normal labor/delivery. Its use is not recommended from 20 weeks of pregnancy until delivery. If necessary, the lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest duration of time.
This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Form and Strength
Pennsaid is available in the following forms and strengths:
Pennsaid topical solution:
diclofenac topical solution:
Does Pennsaid work immediately?
For certain conditions (such as arthritis), it may take up to 2 weeks of using this drug regularly until you get the full benefit.
How long can you take Pennsaid?
It should not be used for longer than 3 months.