How does Voltarol Gel work?
Voltarol emulgel contains the active ingredient diclofenac diethylammonium, which is a type of medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs are used to relieve pain and inflammation.
Diclofenac works by blocking the action of a substance in the body called cyclo-oxygenase (COX). Cyclo-oxygenase is involved in the production of various chemicals in the body, some of which are known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced by the body in response to injury and certain diseases and conditions, and cause pain, swelling and inflammation. Diclofenac blocks the production of these prostaglandins and is therefore effective at reducing inflammation and pain.
When diclofenac is applied to the skin (topical application) it is absorbed through the skin into the underlying tissues, where it reduces pain and inflammation in the local area.
Voltarol emulgel is used to relieve local pain and inflammation caused by a variety of muscle, joint, tendon and ligament injuries, such as sprains, strains and bruises. It can also be used for rheumatism and, when prescribed by a doctor, osteoarthritis.
The gel should be rubbed gently into the skin over the affected area. The diclofenac will be absorbed into the underlying tissues, where it will relieve pain and inflammation.
What Voltarol Gel used for?
- Pain and inflammation due to injury to tendons, ligaments, muscle and joints, eg sprains, strains and bruises.
- Soft tissue rheumatism.
- Osteoarthritis of superficial joints such as the knee.
- This medicine is for external use only.
- Do not apply the gel to broken, diseased, infected or irritated skin, or to open wounds.
- Avoid getting the gel in contact with the eyes and the moist membranes lining the inside of certain parts of the body, eg mouth, nasal passages (mucous membranes). Rinse with cold water if accidental contact occurs.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after applying this medicine, unless the hands are the area being treated.
- You should not cover the area being treated with airtight dressings such as bandages or other dressings, as these will enhance the absorption of the medicine into the body and may increase the risk of adverse effects.
- When diclofenac is applied to the skin it is absorbed into the bloodstream to a far lesser degree than diclofenac taken by mouth. This means it is much less likely to cause side effects on the gut than oral diclofenac. However, it is important that people with a history of disorders affecting the stomach or intestines are closely monitored by a doctor while using this medicine, particularly if elderly. Consult your doctor if you experience side effects such as stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn or signs of bleeding in the stomach or intestines, eg blood in the stools, while using this medicine.
- If large areas of the body are covered with gel, absorption into the bloodstream will be greater and the risk of side effects increased, especially if the gel is used frequently. Do not exceed the recommended dose.
- If symptoms persist despite treatment, seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
- You should avoid excessive exposure to bright sunlight while using this medicine, as it may increase the risk of sunburn.
Use with caution in
- History of asthma or allergies.
- History of ulceration or bleeding in the stomach or intestines.
Not to be used in
- People in whom aspirin or other NSAIDs, eg ibuprofen, cause allergic reactions such as asthma attacks, itchy rash (urticaria), nasal inflammation (rhinitis) or swelling of the lips, tongue and throat (angioedema).
- Children under 12 years of age.
- Third trimester of pregnancy.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- This medicine is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It should not be used in the third trimester of pregnancy because it may delay labour, increase the length of labour and cause complications in the newborn baby. It is not recommended for use in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor. Seek medical advice from your doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant.
- When diclofenac is taken by mouth it passes into breast milk in very small amounts that are unlikely to be harmful to a nursing infant. The manufacturer has not studied the safety of using diclofenac gel when breastfeeding, but it is unlikely to be absorbed sufficiently to have any effect on a nursing infant. However, the manufacturer recommends it is not used by women who are breastfeeding. As with all medicines, you should seek medical advice from your doctor before using this medicine if you are breastfeeding.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Skin irritation, itching or redness.
- Inflammation of the skin (dermatitis).
- Abnormal reaction of the skin to light, usually a rash (photosensitivity).
- Allergic reactions, such as narrowing of the airways that causes difficulty breathing (bronchospasm), swelling of the lips, throat and tongue (angioedema) or severe skin reactions.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
When it is used on unbroken skin this medicine is unlikely to be absorbed into the bloodstream in sufficient amounts to affect other medicines that are being taken by mouth. However, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before using this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while using this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
You should not use any other medicines that contain diclofenac while you are using this gel. You should also avoid taking other NSAIDs by mouth, for example ibuprofen, while you are using this gel, as this may increase the risk of side effects. Only take other NSAIDs if advised by your doctor.