Diclofenac Sodium Delayed-release

Diclofenac Sodium Delayed-release

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Questions & Answers

Side Effects & Adverse Reactions

Gastrointestinal Effects

Peptic ulceration and gastrointestinal bleeding have been reported in patients receiving diclofenac. Physicians and patients should therefore remain alert for ulceration and bleeding in patients treated chronically with diclofenac even in the absence of previous G.I. tract symptoms. It is recommended that patients be maintained on the lowest dose of diclofenac possible, consistent with achieving a satisfactory therapeutic response.

Risk of G.I. Ulcerations, Bleeding, and Perforation with NSAID Therapy:

Serious gastrointestinal toxicity such as bleeding, ulceration, and perforation can occur at any time, with or without warning symptoms, in patients treated chronically with NSAID therapy. Although minor upper gastrointestinal problems, such as dyspepsia, are common, usually developing early in therapy, physicians should remain alert for ulceration and bleeding in patients treated chronically with NSAIDs even in the absence of previous G.I. tract symptoms. In patients observed in clinical trials of several months to 2 years’ duration, symptomatic upper G.I. ulcers, gross bleeding, or perforation appear to occur in approximately 1% of patients for 3 to 6 months, and in about 2% to 4% of patients treated for 1 year. Physicians should inform patients about the signs and/or symptoms of serious G.I. toxicity and what steps to take if they occur.

Studies to date have not identified any subset of patients not at risk of developing peptic ulceration and bleeding. Except for a prior history of serious G.I. events and other risk factors known to be associated with peptic ulcer disease, such as alcoholism, smoking, etc., no risk factors (e.g., age, sex) have been associated with increased risk. Elderly or debilitated patients seem to tolerate ulceration or bleeding less well than other individuals, and most spontaneous reports of fatal G.I. events are in this population. Studies to date are inconclusive concerning the relative risk of various NSAIDs in causing such reactions. High doses of any NSAID probably carry a greater risk of these reactions, although controlled clinical trials showing this do not exist in most cases. In considering the use of relatively large doses (within the recommended dosage range), sufficient benefit should be anticipated to offset the potential increased risk of G.I. toxicity.

Hepatic Effects

Elevations of one or more liver tests may occur during diclofenac therapy. These laboratory abnormalities may progress, may remain unchanged, or may be transient with continued therapy. Borderline elevations (i.e., less than 3 times the ULN [*the Upper Limit of the Normal range]), or greater elevations of transaminases occurred in about 15% of diclofenac-treated patients. Of the hepatic enzymes, ALT (SGPT) is the one recommended for the monitoring of liver injury.

In clinical trials, meaningful elevations (i.e., more than 3 times the ULN) of AST (SGOT) (ALT was not measured in all studies) occurred in about 2% of approximately 5700 patients at some time during diclofenac sodium treatment. In a large, open, controlled trial, meaningful elevations of ALT and/or AST occurred in about 4% of 3700 patients treated for 2 to 6 months, including marked elevations (i.e., more than 8 times the ULN) in about 1% of the 3700 patients. In that open-label study, a higher incidence of borderline (less than 3 times the ULN), moderate (3 to 8 times the ULN), and marked (>8 times the ULN) elevations of ALT or AST was observed in patients receiving diclofenac when compared to other NSAIDs. Transaminase elevations were seen more frequently in patients with osteoarthritis than in those with rheumatoid arthritis (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

In addition to enzyme elevations seen in clinical trials, postmarketing surveillance has found rare cases of severe hepatic reactions, including liver nacrosis, jaundice, and fulminant fatal hepatitis with and without jaundice. Some of these rare reported cases underwent liver transplantation.

Physicians should measure transaminases periodically in patients receiving long-term therapy with diclofenac, because severe hepatotoxicity may develop without a prodrome of distinguishing symptoms. The optimum times for making the first and subsequent transaminase measurements are not known. In the largest U.S. trial (open-label) that involved 3700 patients monitored first at 8 weeks and 1200 patients monitored again at 24 weeks, almost all meaningful elevations in transaminases were detected before patients became symptomatic. In 42 of the 51 patients in all trials who developed marked transaminase elevations, abnormal tests occurred during the first 2 months of therapy with diclofenac. Postmarketing experience has shown severe hepatic reactions can occur at any time during treatment with diclofenac. Cases of drug-induced hepatotoxicity have been reported in the first month, and in some cases, the first two months of therapy. Based on these experiences, transaminases should be monitored within 4 to 8 weeks after initiating treatment with diclofenac (see PRECAUTIONS-Laboratory Tests). As with other NSAIDs, if abnormal liver tests persist or worsen, if clinical signs and/or symptoms consistent with liver disease develop, or if systemic manifestations occur (e.g., eosinophilla, rash, etc.), diclofenac should be discontinued immediately.

To minimize the possibility that hepatic injury will become severe between transaminase measurements, physicians should inform patients of the warning signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity (e.g., nausea, fatigue, lethargy, pruritus, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, and “flu-like” symptoms), and the appropriate action patients should take if these signs and symptoms appear.

Anaphylactoid Reactions

As with other NSAIDs, anaphylactoid reactions may occur in patients without prior exposure to diclofenac. Diclofenac should not be given to patients with the aspirin triad. The triad typically occurs in asthmatic patients who experience rhinitis with or without nasal polyps, or who exhibit severe, potentially fatal bronchospasm after taking aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Fatal reactions have been reported in such patients (see CONTRAINDICATIONS, and PRECAUTIONS-Preexisting Asthma). Emergency help should be sought in cases where an anaphylactoid reaction occurs.

Advanced Renal Disease

In cases with advanced kidney disease, treatment with diclofenac, as with other NSAIDs, should only be initiated with close monitoring of the patient’s kidney functions (see PRECAUTIONS-Renal Effects).


In late pregnancy, diclofenac should, as with other NSAIDs, be avoided because it will cause premature closure of the ductus arteriosus (see PRECAUTIONS-Pregnancy, Teratogenic Effects, Pregnancy Category B, and Labor and Delivery).

Legal Issues

There is currently no legal information available for this drug.

FDA Safety Alerts

There are currently no FDA safety alerts available for this drug.

Manufacturer Warnings

There is currently no manufacturer warning information available for this drug.

FDA Labeling Changes

There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.


Diclofenac sodium delayed-release tablets are indicated for the acute and chronic treatment of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.


There is currently no drug history available for this drug.

Other Information

Diclofenac, as the sodium salt, is a benzeneacetic acid derivative, designated chemically as Sodium [o-(2,6- dichloroanillino)phenyl]acetate. The structural formula is shown in Figure 1.

Image from Drug Label Content

Figure 1

Molecular Formula: C14H10Cl2NNaO2

Molecular Weight: 318.13

Diclofenac sodium, is a faintly yellowish white to light beige, virtually odorless, slightly hygroscopic crystalline powder. It is freely soluble in methanol, soluble in ethanol, and practically insoluble in chloroform and in dilute acid. Diclofenac sodium is sparingly soluble in water. The n-octanol/water partition coefficient is 13.4 at pH 7.4 and 1545 at pH 5.2. The sodium salt has a single dissociation constant (pKa) of 4.0±0.2 at 25°C in water.

Each delayed-release tablet for oral administration contains 50 mg or 75 mg of diclofenac sodium. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: crospovidone, FD & C Blue No. 2 Aluminium Lake (50 mg), FD & C Red No. 40 (75 mg), FD & C Yellow No. 6, hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose, iron oxide yellow (50 mg), lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, methacrylic acid copolymer, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, simethicone, sodium hydroxide, talc and titanium dioxide.

Diclofenac Sodium Delayed-release Manufacturers

  • Alphapharm Pty Ltd
    Diclofenac Sodium Delayed-release (Diclofenac Sodium) Tablet, Delayed Release [Alphapharm Pty Ltd]

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