Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergy: Some people who are allergic to other anti-inflammatory medications also experience allergic reactions to diclofenac. Before you take diclofenac, inform your doctor about any previous adverse reactions you have had to medications, especially ketorolac or ibuprofen. Contact your doctor at once if you experience signs of an allergic reaction, such as skin rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face and throat.
Asthma attacks: If you have asthma, seasonal allergic rhinitis, nasal polyps, chronic obstructive lung disease (e.g., chronic bronchitis or emphysema), or chronic infections of the lungs, you may experience asthma attacks while taking diclofenac powder.
Bladder symptoms: This medication can cause bladder symptoms such as frequent or painful urination and blood in urine. If you develop these symptoms, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor immediately.
Drowsiness/dizziness: Some people have reported dizziness, lightheadedness, and confusion while taking this medication. Avoid operating motor vehicles and doing other potentially hazardous activities until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Fertility: As with other NSAIDs, it may be more difficult for a couple to conceive if the woman is taking diclofenac. Stopping the medication allows the body's chemistry to return to normal which often resolves this issue.
Fluid and electrolyte balance: Diclofenac can cause fluid retention and edema (swelling). If you have congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, or any other condition that might lead to fluid retention, you should discuss with you doctor how this medication may affect you medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Diclofenac can cause high blood potassium levels. If you are a senior, have diabetes or kidney failure, or are taking certain medications that can increase potassium levels (e.g., enalapril, ramipril, valsartan, amiloride and other similar medications), you should discuss with your doctor whether any special monitoring is needed.
Heart problems: Diclofenac and other similar medications may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The risk is greater with higher doses and long-term use. If you are at risk of heart problems (e.g., have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, heart failure, or coronary artery disease, or you smoke), you should discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infection: This medication may mask the signs of an infection, such as a fever.
Kidney function: This medication is not recommended for people with kidney problems. Long-term use of diclofenac may lead to a higher risk of reduced kidney function. This is most common for people who already have kidney disease, liver disease, or heart failure; for people who take diuretics (water pills); and for seniors.
Liver function: This medication may cause liver problems and is not recommended for people with liver problems. If you develop signs of a liver problem (such as yellow skin or eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain, or itchy skin), stop taking the medication and see your doctor as soon as possible.
Stomach problems: Stomach ulcers, perforation, and bleeding from the stomach have been known to occur during therapy with diclofenac. These complications can occur at any time, and are sometimes severe enough to require immediate medical attention. The risk of ulcers and bleeding are increased for people taking higher doses of diclofenac for longer periods of time.
If you are prone to irritation of the stomach and intestines, particularly if you have had a stomach ulcer, bloody stools, or diverticulosis or other inflammatory disease of the stomach or intestines (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms or signs suggestive of stomach ulcers or bleeding in the stomach (black, tarry stools). These reactions can occur at any time during treatment without warning.
Sun sensitivity: This medication may make your skin more sensitive to the sun. While you are using this medication, avoid excessive sun exposure, including tanning beds and sun lamps. If you experience sunburn with itching, swelling, and blistering, stop using this medication and contact your doctor.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Women who are trying to become pregnant should not take this medication. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this medication.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. This medication should not be used by breast-feeding mothers.
Children: This medication is not recommended for children under 18 years of age.
Seniors: The safety and effectiveness of seniors taking this medication haven not been established. Seniors appear to have a higher risk of side effects with this medication. The lowest effective dosage for the shortest possible duration should be used.