Voltaren Gel Warnings and Precautions

Among the people who should not take Voltaren Gel are those who are allergic to aspirin or who have recently had open heart surgery. Also, this medication may not be safe for people with certain medical conditions, such as asthma, high blood pressure, or bleeding problems. Other precautions and warnings with Voltaren Gel involve the safety of taking the medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are taking certain other medications.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Using Voltaren Gel?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Voltaren® Gel (diclofenac gel) if you have:
 
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
 
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have had heart surgery recently.
     
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Voltaren Gel Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with Voltaren Gel include:
 
  • Even though this medication is a gel that is applied to the skin, some of the medication is absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, all of the standard warnings and precautions with other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) apply to Voltaren Gel as well.
     
  • There is a "Medication Guide" (an FDA-approved handout) that should be dispensed along with Voltaren Gel. Make sure to read the medication guide before using this medication and periodically thereafter.
     
  • All NSAIDs, including Voltaren Gel, have been linked to cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or strokes. People who have cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular risk factors appear to be at greater risk. To decrease the chances of these problems occurring, you should take the smallest effective dose for the shortest period of time (using Voltaren Gel is a good way to do this, as only 6 percent of the medication reaches the rest of the body).
Make sure to call 911 if you notice heart attack symptoms or stroke symptoms such as:
    • Chest pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Weakness
    • Slurring of speech.
  • All NSAIDs, including Voltaren Gel, may cause high blood pressure or make it worse in people who already have it. Therefore, Voltaren Gel should be used with caution in people with known high blood pressure.
     
  • All NSAIDs, including Voltaren Gel, may cause congestive heart failure or fluid retention. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice unexplained weight gain or swelling while taking this drug. Also, Voltaren Gel should be used with caution in people with heart failure.
     
  • All NSAIDs, including Voltaren Gel, have been reported to cause problems in the stomach and intestines, including bleeding (known as gastrointestinal bleeding), stomach ulcers, or holes in the stomach or intestines (called perforations). These problems can lead to serious complications or even loss of life. 
Extreme caution should be used if Voltaren Gel is prescribed for people with a history of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding. To decrease the risk of these problems, you should take the smallest effective dose for the shortest period of time. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding, including:
    • Stomach pain
    • Indigestion
    • Black, tarry stools
    • Vomiting blood. 
It is important to understand that Voltaren Gel can cause this problem, even though it is not taken by mouth.
  • Voltaren Gel can interact with certain medications (see Voltaren Gel Drug Interactions).
     
  • Kidney damage can occur in people taking NSAIDs, including Voltaren Gel. This occurrence is more common in the elderly, as well as in people with kidney disease, heart failure, liver problems, and those taking a diuretic or ACE inhibitor.
     
  • Liver damage can occur in people taking Voltaren Gel. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice things such as:

 

    • Nausea
    • Tiredness
    • Lethargy
    • Itchy or yellowing skin
    • Abdominal pain
    • Flu-like symptoms. 

 

  • NSAIDs, including Voltaren Gel, have been reported to cause allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you notice things such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face and throat.
     
  • In rare cases, people taking Voltaren Gel can develop a serious rash. If you notice an unexplained rash or develop blisters, fever, or itchy skin, stop taking Voltaren Gel and call your healthcare provider right away.
     
  • There have been reports of anemia in people taking NSAIDs. Therefore, if you are taking Voltaren Gel for an extended period of time and show signs of anemia, talk to your healthcare provider.
     
  • It is possible that Voltaren Gel could worsen asthma, especially in people with aspirin-sensitive asthma.
     
  • Avoid prolonged, unprotected sun exposure while using this medication, as animal studies indicate that it might increase the risk of skin cancers.
     
  • Voltaren Gel is a pregnancy Category C medicine, meaning it might not be safe during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown. If you become pregnant while taking Voltaren Gel, contact your healthcare provider immediately (see Voltaren Gel and Pregnancy for more information).
     
  • It is unknown if Voltaren Gel passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding a child, check with your healthcare provider (or your child's healthcare provider) before taking Voltaren Gel (see Voltaren Gel and Breastfeeding).
     
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