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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Dec;76(6):880-7. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12125.

An exploratory microdialysis study investigating the effect of repeated application of a diclofenac epolamine medicated plaster on prostaglandin concentrations in skeletal muscle after standardized physical exercise.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Muscle injuries and extensive exercise are associated with cyclo-oxygenase dependent formation of inflammatory prostaglandins. Since the effect of topical administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on local cyclo-oxygenase is unknown, the present exploratory, open label, non-randomized study set out to measure exercise induced release of prostaglandins before and after epicutaneous administration of diclofenac.


Microdialysis was used to determine the local interstitial concentration of PGE2 and 8-iso-PGF2α as well as diclofenac concentrations in the vastus lateralis under rest, dynamic exercise and during recovery in 12 healthy subjects at baseline and after a treatment phase applying a total of seven plasters medicated with 180 mg of diclofenac epolamine over 4 days.


At baseline PGE2 concentrations were 1169 ± 780 pg ml(-1) at rest and 1287 ± 459 pg ml(-1) during dynamic exercise and increased to 2005 ± 1126 pg ml(-1) during recovery. After treatment average PGE2 concentrations were 997 ± 588 pg ml(-1) at rest and 1339 ± 892 pg ml(-1) during exercise. In contrast with the baseline phase no increase in PGE2 concentrations was recorded during the recovery period after treatment (PGE2 1134 ± 874 pg ml(-1)). 8-iso-PGF2α was neither affected by exercise nor by treatment with diclofenac. Local and systemic concentrations of diclofenac were highly variable but comparable with previous clinical pharmacokinetic studies.


We can hypothesize an effect of topical diclofenac epolamine plaster on limiting the increase of local concentrations of the pro-inflammatory prostaglandin PGE2 induced in the muscle of healthy human subjects following standardized physical exercise. No effect of diclofenac treatment on 8-iso-PGF2α concentrations was observed, mainly since isoprostane is produced by a free radical-catalyzed lipid peroxidation mechanism independent of cyclo-oxygenases.


diclofenac; microdialsis; pharmacokinetics; transdermal

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