Home Medication and medical testsAnti-inflammatories Diclofenac gel: what it is for, how to apply it and side effects

Diclofenac gel: what it is for, how to apply it and side effects

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The diclofenac gel is a drug belonging to the group of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , have analgesic and antiinflammatory properties. Several professionals resort to its use for its properties, in addition to the effects achieved to calm pain or inflammation in musculoskeletal disorders, including postoperative.

This medicine works by blocking the effect of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which stimulates the production of substances known as prostaglandins, which are produced in injured areas and are involved in inflammation. Diclofenac, by preventing the effect of cycloooxygenase (COX), reduces the production of prostaglandins and, in this way, reduces symptoms.

In the following FastlyHealarticle, we explain everything about diclofenac gel: what it is for, how to apply it, and side effects.

What is diclofenac gel for?

Diclofenac gel is a local analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug that helps reduce mild and occasional inflammation and pain in the affected area.

Specifically, diclofenac is used to relieve pain from:

  • Ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, hands and hips.
  • Osteoarthritis (a disease known to damage the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones in the joints).
  • Rheumatism.
  • Post-traumatic inflammation.
  • Acute attacks of gout.

The trade names for diclofenac gel are as follows:

  • Voltaren emulgel
  • Voltadol
  • Xibol

Diclofenac sodium 3% for topical use (Solaraze) is also available, which in this case is used to treat actinic keratosis , a skin condition that causes flat, scaly growths due to excessive sun exposure. These lesions can be present on the face, lips, ears, back of the hands, forearm, scalp, neck, among other places.

There are 2 types of diclofenac:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium.

Both have the same active ingredient, the difference is in the salt they contain. Diclofenac potassium acts faster inside the body, it is absorbed in the liver and metabolized in this organ, it is excreted through urine and bile.

Diclofenac gel: how to apply it

Diclofenac gel is for external use only , it should be applied directly to clean, dry skin where the lesion is located. To do this, it is necessary to spread it over the entire affected area with gentle and circular movements to ensure better absorption. It is important to take certain steps to apply diclofenac gel correctly:

  • Wash your hands before and after applying the product.
  • The area where the gel was applied should not be covered or heat applied to accelerate its absorption.
  • It should not be applied at the level of wounds, cracked, infected skin, with the presence of a rash or on mucous membranes.
  • Care must be taken during application to the eyes, nose and mouth. In case of coming into contact with these areas, the product must be removed with plenty of water.
  • If the hands are being treated with this product, they should be washed one hour after the application of the diclofenac gel to take advantage of the properties of the product.

In general, it is recommended to apply diclofenac gel about 3 or 4 times a day to the affected area and not use it for more than 7 days in a row. However, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions regarding the dose and duration of treatment.

Side effects of diclofenac gel

The use of diclofenac in the form of a gel can cause side effects in some people.

It is common to see:

  • Contact dermatitis.
  • Redness of the skin.
  • Itching and rashes.

It is rare to see:

  • Blistering skin lesions.

In very rare cases, the following may occur:

  • Infections
  • Immune disorders: such as allergies or inflammation of the face or throat.
  • Respiratory disorders such as asthma.
  • Skin or subcutaneous tissue problems, reaction to light.

In the presence of these symptoms, it is necessary to consult with the doctor; He will guide you as to why the symptoms appear and the steps to follow.

Contraindications of diclofenac gel

Diclofenac should not be used in cases of:

  • Allergy or increased sensitivity to diclofenac or any of its compounds.
  • During the last 3 months of pregnancy.
  • If you have any type of wound or sunburn in the area where it should be applied.
  • In cases of allergic reactions such as: rhinitis, difficulty breathing, hives, itching or bronchial asthma that have been caused by acetylsalicylic acid or some other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

When using diclofenac gel, the following measures should be taken into account:

  • Do not place on mucous membranes, skin with wounds or pruritic skin lesions.
  • Apply in external areas, at no time should it be consumed.
  • It should not be applied to the eyes. If you do, it is important to wash them with plenty of clean water in addition to consulting your doctor.
  • It cannot be combined with other medications.
  • Avoid contact with the sun after applying diclofenac gel.
  • In cases where the patient is allergic or asthmatic, it is necessary to consult with the doctor before proceeding to apply it.

Advanced age

In the cases of elderly patients, it can be used even in those over 65 years of age.

It is recommended to inform the doctor if you are using any other medication.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding

It should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the last 3 months.

It is also not recommended for use during breastfeeding, unless it has been indicated by your trusted doctor. It should not be applied in any case to the chest area.

In cases where there are physical alterations with symptoms of pain or inflammation with musculoskeletal alteration, the first thing to do is see a doctor to diagnose the injury and indicate if the use of diclofenac gel is necessary, the dose adequate and prescription time.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Diclofenac gel: what it is for, how to apply it and side effects , we recommend that you enter our Medication and medical tests category .

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