Precautions and Warnings With the Diclofenac Patch

Some Diclofenac Patch Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with diclofenac patches include:
 
  • There is a "Medication Guide" (an FDA-approved handout) that should be dispensed along with diclofenac patches. Be sure to read the medication guide before using this medication and periodically thereafter.
     
  • Even though this medication is a patch that is applied to the skin, some of the medication is absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, all of the standard warnings and precautions with other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) apply to diclofenac patches as well.
     
  • All NSAIDs, including the diclofenac patch, have been linked to cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke. People who have cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular risk factors appear to be at greater risk. To decrease the risk of these problems, you should take the smallest effective dose for the shortest period of time (using the diclofenac patch is a good way to do this, since only 6 percent of the medication is absorbed into the rest of the body).
Be sure to call 911 if you notice heart attack symptoms or stroke symptoms, such as:
    • Chest pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Weakness
    • Slurring of speech.

 

  • All NSAIDs, including diclofenac patches, have been reported to cause problems in the stomach and intestines, including bleeding (known as gastrointestinal bleeding), stomach ulcers, or holes in the stomach or intestines (called perforations). These problems can lead to serious complications or even loss of life. Extreme caution should be used if the diclofenac patch is prescribed for people with a history of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding.
To decrease the risk of these problems, you should take the smallest effective dose for the shortest period of time. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding, including:
    • Stomach pain
    • Indigestion
    • Black, tarry stools
    • Vomiting blood.
It is important to understand that the diclofenac patch can cause this problem, even though it is not taken by mouth.
  • All NSAIDs, including diclofenac patches, may cause high blood pressure or make it worse in people who already have it. Therefore, the diclofenac patch should be used with caution in people with known high blood pressure.
     
  • All NSAIDs, including the diclofenac patch, may cause congestive heart failure or fluid retention. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice unexplained weight gain or swelling while taking this drug. Also, diclofenac patches should be used with caution in people with heart failure.
     
  • The diclofenac patch can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With the Diclofenac Patch).
     
  • Kidney damage can occur in people taking NSAIDs, including the diclofenac patch. This occurrence is more common in the elderly, as well as in people with kidney disease, heart failure, liver problems, and those taking a diuretic or an ACE inhibitor.
     
  • Liver damage can occur in people using the diclofenac patch. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice things such as:

 

    • Nausea
    • Tiredness
    • Lethargy
    • Itchy or yellowing skin
    • Abdominal pain
    • Flu-like symptoms.

 

  • NSAIDs, including diclofenac patches, have been reported to cause allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you notice things such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face and throat.
     
  • In rare cases, people using diclofenac patches can develop a serious rash. If you notice an unexplained rash or develop blisters, fever, or itchy skin, stop using the skin patch and call your healthcare provider right away.
     
  • There have been reports of anemia in people taking NSAIDs. Therefore, if you are using the diclofenac patch for an extended period of time and show signs of anemia, talk to your healthcare provider.
     
  • It is possible that the diclofenac patch could worsen asthma, especially in people with aspirin-sensitive asthma.
     
  • The diclofenac patch is a pregnancy Category C medicine, meaning that it might not be safe during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Flector and Pregnancy for more information).
     
  • It is unknown if the diclofenac patch passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, check with your healthcare provider (or your child's healthcare provider) before using the skin patch (see Flector and Breastfeeding).
     
What Your Pharmacist Wishes You Knew About Chronic Pain Medications

Diclofenac Patch Drug Information

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