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Diclofenac (By mouth)

Treats pain. Also treats migraines. This medicine is an NSAID.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat mild-to-moderate pain, and helps to relieve symptoms of arthritis (eg, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis), such as inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. This medicine does not cure arthritis and will only help you as long as you continue to take it. This medicine is also used to treat ankylosing spondylitisRead more
Brand names include
Cambia, Cataflam, Diclofenac Sodium, Voltaren, Voltaren-XR, Zipsor, Zorvolex
Other forms
By injection, Into the eye, On the skin, On the skin, Topical application route
Drug classes About this
Analgesic, Antimigraine, Antirheumatic, Central Nervous System Agent, Musculoskeletal Agent
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Diclofenac with or without an antiemetic for acute migraine headaches in adults

This review found that oral diclofenac potassium 50 mg was an effective treatment for migraine headache, reducing moderate to severe pain to no more than mild pain within two hours in about half (55%) of those treated, to no pain at two hours in about one in five (22%), and to no pain sustained to 24 hours in about the same number (19%). Adverse events were mostly self limiting and of mild or moderate intensity, and were not significantly different from placebo over the short term. Although diclofenac provided good outcomes for some people, almost half did not experience adequate pain relief within two hours, and as few as one in five became pain‐free. It is not clear whether the 100 mg dose provides good outcomes for more people. For those who do not experience adequate responses, a different therapy will be needed.

Single dose oral diclofenac for acute postoperative pain in adults

Acute pain is often felt soon after injury. Most people who have surgery have moderate or severe pain afterwards. Painkillers are tested in people with pain, often following a painful condition such as the removal of wisdom teeth. This pain is usually treated with painkillers taken by mouth. We believe these results can be applied to other acute painful conditions.

Single‐dose intravenous diclofenac for short‐term pain after surgery in adults

There is some evidence that intravenous diclofenac is effective for reducing pain after surgery in adults, but it is less clear how safe it is in this setting.

See all (197)

Summaries for consumers

Diclofenac with or without an antiemetic for acute migraine headaches in adults

This review found that oral diclofenac potassium 50 mg was an effective treatment for migraine headache, reducing moderate to severe pain to no more than mild pain within two hours in about half (55%) of those treated, to no pain at two hours in about one in five (22%), and to no pain sustained to 24 hours in about the same number (19%). Adverse events were mostly self limiting and of mild or moderate intensity, and were not significantly different from placebo over the short term. Although diclofenac provided good outcomes for some people, almost half did not experience adequate pain relief within two hours, and as few as one in five became pain‐free. It is not clear whether the 100 mg dose provides good outcomes for more people. For those who do not experience adequate responses, a different therapy will be needed.

Single dose oral diclofenac for acute postoperative pain in adults

Acute pain is often felt soon after injury. Most people who have surgery have moderate or severe pain afterwards. Painkillers are tested in people with pain, often following a painful condition such as the removal of wisdom teeth. This pain is usually treated with painkillers taken by mouth. We believe these results can be applied to other acute painful conditions.

Single‐dose intravenous diclofenac for short‐term pain after surgery in adults

There is some evidence that intravenous diclofenac is effective for reducing pain after surgery in adults, but it is less clear how safe it is in this setting.

See all (89)

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