Diclofenac sodium is classified as an Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug. This type of medication is used to treat pain by reducing inflammation.
The term diclofenac sodium is derived from its chemical name 2-(2, 6- Dichlororanilino) phenylacetic acid. Diclofenal sodium is the generic name. The brand or trade names include Voltaren, Pritaren, Diclac, Feloran and much more. This drug comes in different preparations such as tablet (immediate release or extended release), oral solution, injectables, topical creams, and eye drops.
What is the mechanism of action of diclofenac sodium?
This drug has anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic properties. The action of diclofenac sodium is to constrain the synthesis of prostaglandin by inhibiting the secretion of COX (Cyclooxygenase). It also impedes the DNA synthesis of bacteria.
It can also block the voltage-dependent sodium channels and acid sensing ion channels. When these channels are blocked, relief from pain is obtained.
What is Diclofenac Sodium used for?
This drug can be used to treat the following conditions: Rheumotoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondilytis, Osteoarthritis, Migraine, Post-operative pain, Ureter Colic and Dysmenorrhea. All these medical conditions are characterized by inflammation. The main action of the drug is to treat inflammation and reduce pain.
What are the side effects of Diclofenac Sodium?
The most common and less dangerous side effects of the drug are: Dizziness, headache, stomach pain, rash or skin itching, blurred vision and tinnitus or ringing in ears.
Some of the serious side effects of diclofenac sodium are: Black, tarry stool (this signifies bleeding in the GI tract), seizures, purple spots on the skin, jaundice or yellowing of the skin, coffee ground vomit and rapid weight gain. Seek medical help if you have the following side effects. These need immediate intervention from your health care provider.
The drug may also produce an allergic reaction. The symptoms present are: Difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, lips, and throat and hives. If you experience any of these symptoms go to the nearest emergency room because these may be life threatening.
How should Diclofenac Sodium be taken?
The recommended dosage for this drug when treating rheumatoid arthritis is 50 mg to be taken three to four times a day. While for the symptoms of osteoarthritis the recommended dosage is 50 mg thrice a day or 75 mg twice a day. However, for ankylosing spondylitis, the recommended dosage is 25 mg four times a day but an additional 25 mg can be added before bedtime.
Diclofenac sodium can be used to treat migraines without aura by taking a 50 mg oral solution packet mixed in 50 ml water. Drink the medication immediately after dissolving it in water. For post-operative pain, diclofenac sodium 50 mg should be taken three times a day or 100 mg initially then 50 mg on later doses.
For women experiencing dysmenorrhea, this drug should be taken three times a day at a 50 mg dose. However, the daily dosage should not surpass 150 mg.
But always remember that you should always follow your doctor’s advice and take the dosage recommended by him. Self-medication can be dangerous if not done right.
Tips to remember when taking Diclofenac Sodium
- The oral medication can be taken with or without food but when you take it on an empty stomach; you may have a GI upset. However, food does not lessen the adverse effect of stomach ulcers or bleeding.
- Take the oral medication with a full glass of water. No more and no less.
- If you have skipped a dose, do not take a double dose at the next recommended time as it may lead to an overdose of the medicine. Just forget the missed dose and continue with the next schedule.
- Avoid using alcohol when you are on Diclofenac sodium as it may cause extreme dizziness or drowsiness. When you experience dizziness or drowsiness, stay away from driving.
- Take this medication as a whole. Do not crush or chew it. Just swallow the medication. It may lessen the effects of the drug.
- Do not take more than the prescribed dose daily and do not extend the prescribed period of time. Check with your health care provider first. Do not change from one type (oral solution) to another (tablet) without asking your doctor. Different types of medication have different effects.
- Use it with caution in elderly and children as they are more sensitive to the side effects. A higher dose of the drug can harm them immediately.
- If you are pregnant, this drug should not be used in the first three months because it can harm the fetus. It may cause abnormalities in the cardiovascular system of the baby.
- For the oral solution, it should only be mixed with water. No other liquid (milk, soda, juice) should be incorporated with the medication.
- The diclofenac sodium gel should not be applied to open wounds and mucous membranes.