Diclofenac Sodium: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 2 of 5)

5.7 Anaphylactic Reactions

Diclofenac has been associated with anaphylactic reactions in patients with and without known hypersensitivity to diclofenac and in patients with aspirin-sensitive asthma [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.8)] .

Seek emergency help if an anaphylactic reaction occurs.

5.8 Exacerbation of Asthma Related to Aspirin Sensitivity

A subpopulation of patients with asthma may have aspirin-sensitive asthma which may include chronic rhinosinusitis complicated by nasal polyps; severe, potentially fatal bronchospasm; and/or intolerance to aspirin and other NSAIDs. Because cross-reactivity between aspirin and other NSAIDs has been reported in such aspirin-sensitive patients, diclofenac sodium topical solution is contraindicated in patients with this form of aspirin sensitivity [see Contraindications (4)] . When diclofenac sodium topical solution is used in patients with preexisting asthma (without known aspirin sensitivity), monitor patients for changes in the signs and symptoms of asthma.

5.9 Serious Skin Reactions

NSAIDs, including diclofenac, can cause serious skin adverse reactions such as exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which can be fatal. These serious events may occur without warning. Inform patients about the signs and symptoms of serious skin reactions, and to discontinue the use of diclofenac sodium topical solution at the first appearance of skin rash or any other sign of hypersensitivity. Diclofenac sodium topical solution is contraindicated in patients with previous serious skin reactions to NSAIDs [see Contraindications (4)] . Do not apply diclofenac sodium topical solution to open skin wounds, infections, inflammations, or exfoliative dermatitis, as it may affect absorption and tolerability of the drug.

5.10 Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)

Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) has been reported in patients taking NSAIDs such as diclofenac sodium topical solution. Some of these events have been fatal or life-threatening. DRESS typically, although not exclusively, presents with fever, rash, lymphadenopathy, and/or facial swelling. Other clinical manifestations may include hepatitis, nephritis, hematological abnormalities, myocarditis, or myositis. Sometimes symptoms of DRESS may resemble an acute viral infection. Eosinophilia is often present. Because this disorder is variable in its presentation, other organ systems not noted here may be involved. It is important to note that early manifestations of hypersensitivity, such as fever or lymphadenopathy, may be present even though rash is not evident. If such signs or symptoms are present, discontinue diclofenac sodium topical solution and evaluate the patient immediately.

5.11 Fetal Toxicity

Premature Closure of Fetal Ductus Arteriosus:

Avoid use of NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, in pregnant women at about 30 weeks gestation and later. NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, increase the risk of premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus at approximately this gestational age.

Oligohydramnios/Neonatal Renal Impairment:

Use of NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, at about 20 weeks gestation or later in pregnancy may cause fetal renal dysfunction leading to oligohydramnios and, in some cases, neonatal renal impairment. These adverse outcomes are seen, on average, after days to weeks of treatment, although oligohydramnios has been infrequently reported as soon as 48 hours after NSAID initiation. Oligohydramnios is often, but not always, reversible with treatment discontinuation. Complications of prolonged oligohydramnios may, for example, include limb contractures and delayed lung maturation. In some post-marketing cases of impaired neonatal renal function, invasive procedures such as exchange transfusion or dialysis were required.

If NSAID treatment is necessary between about 20 weeks and 30 weeks gestation, limit diclofenac sodium topical solution use to the lowest effective dose and shortest duration possible. Consider ultrasound monitoring of amniotic fluid if diclofenac sodium topical solution treatment extends beyond 48 hours. Discontinue diclofenac sodium topical solution if oligohydramnios occurs and follow up according to clinical practice [ see Use in Specific Populations (8.1) ] .

5.12 Hematologic Toxicity

Anemia has occurred in NSAID-treated patients. This may be due to occult or gross blood loss, fluid retention, or an incompletely described effect on erythropoiesis. If a patient treated with diclofenac sodium topical solution has any signs or symptoms of anemia, monitor hemoglobin or hematocrit.

NSAIDs, including diclofenac sodium topical solution, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Co-morbid conditions such as coagulation disorders, concomitant use of warfarin, other anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents (e.g., aspirin), serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may increase this risk. Monitor these patients for signs of bleeding [see Drug Interactions (7)] .

The effects of diclofenac sodium topical solution on platelet function were studied in 10 healthy subjects administered 80 drops four times a day for 7 days. There was no significant change in platelet aggregation following one week of treatment [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.4)].

5.13 Masking of Inflammation and Fever

The pharmacological activity of diclofenac sodium topical solution in reducing inflammation, and possibly fever, may diminish the utility of diagnostic signs in detecting infections.

5.14 Laboratory Monitoring

Because serious GI bleeding, hepatotoxicity, and renal injury can occur without warning symptoms or signs, consider monitoring patients on long-term NSAID treatment with a CBC and a chemistry profile periodically [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.3, 5.6)] .

5.15 Sun Exposure

Instruct patients to avoid exposure to natural or artificial sunlight on treated knee(s) because studies in animals indicated topical diclofenac treatment resulted in an earlier onset of ultraviolet light-induced skin tumors. The potential effects of diclofenac sodium topical solution on skin response to ultraviolet damage in humans are not known.

5.16 Eye Exposure

Avoid contact of diclofenac sodium topical solution with eyes and mucosa. Advise patients that if eye contact occurs, immediately wash out the eye with water or saline and consult a physician if irritation persists for more than an hour.

5.17 Oral Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Concomitant use of oral NSAIDs with diclofenac sodium topical solution resulted in a higher rate of rectal hemorrhage, more frequent abnormal creatinine, urea and hemoglobin. Therefore, do not use combination therapy with diclofenac sodium topical solution and an oral NSAID unless the benefit outweighs the risk and conduct periodic laboratory evaluations.


The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the labeling:

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The data described below reflect exposure to diclofenac sodium topical solution of 911 patients treated between 4 and 12 weeks (mean duration of 49 days) in seven Phase 3 controlled trials, as well as exposure of 793 patients treated in an open-label study, including 463 patients treated for at least 6 months, and 144 patients treated for at least 12 months. The population mean age was approximately 60 years, 89% of patients were Caucasians, 64% were females, and all patients had primary osteoarthritis. The most common adverse events with diclofenac sodium topical solution were application site skin reactions. These events were the most common reason for withdrawing from the studies.

Application Site Reactions

In controlled trials, the most common treatment-related adverse events in patients receiving diclofenac sodium topical solution were application site skin reactions. Application site reactions were characterized by one or more of the following: dryness, erythema, induration, vesicles, paresthesia, pruritus, vasodilation, acne, and urticaria. The most frequent of these reactions were dry skin (32%), contact dermatitis characterized by skin erythema and induration (9%), contact dermatitis with vesicles (2%) and pruritus (4%). In one controlled trial, a higher rate of contact dermatitis with vesicles (4%) was observed after treatment of 152 subjects with the combination of diclofenac sodium topical solution and oral diclofenac. In the open label uncontrolled long-term safety study, contact dermatitis occurred in 13% and contact dermatitis with vesicles in 10% of patients, generally within the first 6 months of exposure, leading to a withdrawal rate for an application site event of 14%.

Adverse Events Common to the NSAID Class

In controlled trials, subjects treated with diclofenac sodium topical solution experienced some adverse events associated with the NSAID class more frequently than subjects using placebo (constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, nausea, flatulence, abdominal pain, edema; see Table 1). The combination of diclofenac sodium topical solution and oral diclofenac, compared to oral diclofenac alone, resulted in a higher rate of rectal hemorrhage (3% vs. less than 1%), and more frequent abnormal creatinine (12% vs. 7%), urea (20% vs. 12%), and hemoglobin (13% vs. 9%), but no difference in elevation of liver transaminases.

Table 1 lists all adverse reactions occurring in ≥ 1% of patients receiving diclofenac sodium topical solution, where the rate in the diclofenac sodium topical solution group exceeded placebo, from seven controlled studies conducted in patients with osteoarthritis. Since these trials were of different durations, these percentages do not capture cumulative rates of occurrence.

Table 1: Adverse Reactions occurring in ≥ 1% of patients treated with diclofenac sodium topical solution in placebo and oral diclofenac-controlled trials.

Treatment Group:

Diclofenac sodium topical solution N=911

Topical Placebo N=332

Adverse Reaction

N (%)

N (%)

Dry Skin (Application Site)

292 (32)

17 (5)

Contact Dermatitis (Application Site)

83 (9)

6 (2)


72 (8)

13 (4)

Abdominal Pain

54 (6)

10 (3)


35 (4)

1 (<1)

Pruritus (Application Site)

34 (4)

7 (2)


33 (4)

7 (2)


33 (4)

3 (1)


40 (4)

13 (4)


29 (3)

1 (<1)


26 (3)


Rash (Non-Application Site)

25 (3)

5 (2)


25 (3)

8 (2)


19 (2)

1 (<1)

Dry Skin (Non-Application Site)

19 (2)

1 (<1)

Contact Dermatitis, vesicles (Application Site)

18 (2)


Paresthesia (Non-Application Site)

14 (2)

3 (<1)

Accidental Injury

22 (2)

7 (2)

Pruritus (Non-Application Site)

15 (2)

2 (<1)


10 (1)

2 (<1)


11 (1)

1 (<1)

Application Site Reaction (not otherwise specified)

11 (1)

3 (<1)

Preferred Term according to COSTART

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