Diclofenac, also known by such brand names as Voltaren and Voltarol, is a prescription anti-inflammatory medication. According to the Mayo Clinic, diclofenac is most frequently prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis as well as ankylosing spondylitis and migraine attacks. Common side effects of diclofenac or Voltaren include bloating, gassiness, and ringing in the ears, but it can also be responsible for more serious effects.
Diclofenac is a type of NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is designed to relieve pain and swelling from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that exists in the spine. Diclofenac is also prescribed to treat painful menstrual cramping and acute migraine attacks. It is typically taken with water once daily, though some versions of the medicine may be prescribed for more frequent use or differing methods of intake.
The most frequent side effects of diclofenac or Voltaren affect the digestive system and include stomach bloating, burping, passing gas, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Tinnitis, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears, may also develop. The National Health Service of the UK adds headaches and dizziness as common side effects of diclofenac.
Some side effects of diclofenac can be indicative of a serious reaction and should be brought to medical attention immediately. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common serious or severe side effects of diclofenac are abdominal pain or cramping which can indicate an ulcer, blood in stool, vomiting blood, lack of energy, lack of appetite, loss of color from the skin, and unexplained weight loss. Signs of an allergic reaction can include hives, itching, swelling, and trouble breathing. Additionally, certain medications may interact with diclofenac. Tell your doctor about any other drugs or supplements you are taking before using diclofenac.
According to the National Institutes of Health, NSAIDs like diclofenac are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Particularly for long-term users of diclofenac, the chances of heart attack or stroke are significantly higher than those of the general population. The risk increases further in users who already have underlying heart conditions. In the event of chest pain or unexplained changes in heart rate, stop taking the medication and head to the doctor.
Diclofenac or Voltaren is a type of NSAID used to combat pain associated with arthritis, menstrual cramps, and migraine attacks. Diclofenac can bring on serious side effects like stomach ulcers and an increased risk of heart disease. Before using diclofenac, talk to your doctor about its risks and benefits and discuss any other drugs you also use. In the event of a severe reaction, seek immediate medical attention.
Diclofenac. National Institutes of Health.
Diclofenac (Oral Route). Mayo Clinic.
Voltarol Dispersible. National Health Service.