Diclofenac, which can be sold under the brand Voltaren, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The medication's goal is to reduce the substances the body creates that lead to inflammation and pain. Prescription diclofenac typically comes in suppositories, capsules, and tablets. In the hospital, it may be administered in an eyedrop or injection form. However, this use does not tend to be regular. The topical form is quite common, particularly without a prescription.
Many patients take diclofenac for pain relief. It can be used topically as a mild muscle pain treatment. This is also a medication for arthritis, including both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. One brand is even approved as a medication for severe menstrual cramps. Powdered diclofenac can even be used as a migraine treatment in some patients. Of course, understanding this medication is crucial before using it as a pain treatment.
How It Works
Diclofenac is used to alleviate pain and inflammation. The class of medications it belongs to, NSAIDs, do not use steroids to prevent inflammation, so they are often accessible to a broader range of individuals. At the same time, they work similarly to steroids to suppress the actions of the body. This medication specifically works on cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These are chemicals that the body produces that work to create substances known as prostaglandins. When the body is damaged or injured, prostaglandins are made around the injury. These substances cause inflammation and pain. This medication blocks cyclo-oxygenase enzymes from making as many prostaglandins. In turn, this reduces the inflammation and pain in the body.
Diclofenac is available in sodium and potassium forms. The potassium form is absorbed more quickly, so it allows for immediate pain relief. However, the sodium form has better results when it comes to reducing inflammation over longer periods. There are several different brands of this drug, some of which include additional medicines to help with symptoms.
Continue reading to learn about the uses for this medication next.