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Int J Clin Pract. 2010 Oct;64(11):1546-1553. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02474.x.

Topical diclofenac epolamine patch 1.3% for treatment of acute pain caused by soft tissue injury.

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Kaiser Permanente Health Care, Chronic Pain Management Program, Escondido, CA, USAComprehensive Pain Program, Department of Neurology, Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA.


Acute pain caused by musculoskeletal disorders is very common and has a significant negative impact on quality-of-life and societal costs. Many types of acute pain have been managed with traditional oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors (coxibs). Data from prospective, randomised controlled clinical trials and postmarketing surveillance indicate that use of oral traditional NSAIDs and coxibs is associated with an elevated risk of developing gastrointestinal, renovascular and/or cardiovascular adverse events (AEs). Increasing awareness of the AEs associated with NSAID therapy, including coxibs, has led many physicians and patients to reconsider use of these drugs and look for alternative treatment options. Treatment with NSAIDs via the topical route of administration has been shown to provide clinically effective analgesia at the site of application while minimising systemic absorption. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic potency of the traditional oral NSAID diclofenac, along with its physicochemical properties, makes it well suited for topical delivery. Several topical formulations of diclofenac have been developed. A topical patch containing diclofenac epolamine 1.3% (DETP, FLECTOR(®) Patch), approved for use in Europe in 1993, has recently been approved for use in the United States and is indicated for the treatment of acute pain caused by minor strains, sprains and contusions. In this article, we review the available clinical trial data for this product in the treatment of pain caused by soft tissue injury.

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