DrugLib.com — Drug Information Portal

Rx drug information, pharmaceutical research, clinical trials, news, and more

Voltaren Gel (Diclofenac Sodium Topical) - Warnings and Precautions

 
 



WARNING: CARDIOVASCULAR AND GASTROINTESTINAL RISK

Cardiovascular Risk

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may increase with duration of use. Patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease may be at greater risk [see Warnings and Precautions] .
  • VOLTAREN® GEL is contraindicated for the treatment of peri -operative pain in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery [see Contraindications] .

Gastrointestinal Risk

  • NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. Elderly patients are at greater risk for serious gastrointestinal events [see Warnings and Precautions] .
 

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Cardiovascular Thrombotic Events

Clinical trials of several COX-2 selective and nonselective NSAIDs of up to three years duration have shown an increased risk of serious cardiovascular (CV) thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. All NSAIDs, both COX-2 selective and nonselective, may have a similar risk. Patients with known CV disease or risk factors for CV disease may be at greater risk. To minimize the potential risk for an adverse CV event in patients treated with NSAIDs, the lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest duration possible. Physicians and patients should remain alert for the development of such events, even in the absence of previous CV symptoms. Patients should be informed about the signs and/or symptoms of serious CV toxicity and the steps to take if they occur.
There is no consistent evidence that concurrent use of aspirin mitigates the increased risk of serious CV thrombotic events associated with NSAIDs use. The concurrent use of aspirin and NSAIDs such as diclofenac, does increase the risk of serious GI events [see Warnings and Precautions] .
Two large, controlled, clinical trials of a COX-2 selective NSAID for the treatment of pain in the first 10-14 days following CABG surgery found an increased incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke [see Contraindications] .

Gastrointestinal Effects – Risk of GI Ulceration, Bleeding, and Perforation

NSAIDs, including diclofenac, can cause serious gastrointestinal (GI) events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach, small intestine or large intestine, which can be fatal. These serious adverse events can occur at any time, with or without warning symptoms, in patients treated with NSAIDs. Only one in five patients who develop a serious upper GI adverse event on NSAID therapy is symptomatic. Upper GI ulcers, gross bleeding, or perforation caused by NSAIDs occur in approximately 1% of patients treated for 3-6 months, and in about 2-4% of patients treated for one year. These trends continue with longer duration of use, increasing the likelihood of developing a serious GI event at some time during the course of therapy. However, even short-term therapy is not without risk.
NSAIDs should be prescribed with extreme caution in patients with a prior history of ulcer disease or gastrointestinal bleeding. Patients with a prior history of peptic ulcer disease and/or gastrointestinal bleeding who use NSAIDs have a greater than 10-fold increased risk for developing a GI bleed compared to patients with neither of these risk factors. Other factors that increase the risk of GI bleeding in patients treated with NSAIDs include concomitant use of oral corticosteroids or anticoagulants, longer duration of NSAIDs therapy, smoking, use of alcohol, older age, and poor general health status. Most spontaneous reports of fatal GI events are in elderly or debilitated patients and therefore special care should be taken in treating this population.
To minimize the potential risk for an adverse GI event, the lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest possible duration. Physicians and patients should remain alert for signs and symptoms of GI ulceration and bleeding during diclofenac therapy and promptly initiate additional evaluation and treatment if a serious GI adverse event is suspected. For high-risk patients, alternate therapies that do not involve NSAIDs should be considered.

Hepatic Effects

Elevations of one or more liver tests may occur during therapy with diclofenac sodium. 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 [ULN = the upper limit of normal range]) or greater elevations of transaminases occurred in about 15% of diclofenac-treated patients. Of the markers of hepatic function, ALT (SGPT) is recommended for the monitoring of liver injury.
In clinical trials, meaningful elevations (i.e., more than 3 times the ULN) of AST (GOT) (ALT was not measured in all studies) occurred in about 2% of approximately 5,700 patients at some time during diclofenac treatment. In a large, open-label, controlled trial of 3,700 patients treated for 2-6 months, patients were monitored first at 8 weeks and 1,200 patients were monitored again at 24 weeks. Meaningful elevations of ALT and/or AST occurred in about 4% of patients and included marked elevations (i.e., more than 8 times the ULN) in about 1% of the 3,700 patients. In that open-label study, a higher incidence of borderline (less than 3 times the ULN), moderate (3-8 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. Elevations in transaminases were seen more frequently in patients with osteoarthritis than in those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Almost all meaningful elevations in transaminases were detected before patients became symptomatic. Abnormal tests occurred during the first 2 months of therapy with diclofenac in 42 of the 51 patients in all trials who developed marked transaminase elevations.
In postmarketing reports, cases of drug-induced hepatotoxicity have been reported in the first month, and in some cases, the first 2 months of therapy, but can occur at any time during treatment with diclofenac. Postmarketing surveillance has reported cases of severe hepatic reactions, including liver necrosis, jaundice, fulminant hepatitis with and without jaundice, and liver failure. Some of these reported cases resulted in fatalities or 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. Based on clinical trial data and postmarketing experiences, transaminases should be monitored within 4 to 8 weeks after initiating treatment with diclofenac. However, severe hepatic reactions can occur at any time during treatment with diclofenac.
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., eosinophilia, rash, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dark urine, etc.), diclofenac sodium 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, diarrhea, pruritus, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, and “flu-like” symptoms), and the appropriate action patients should take if these signs and symptoms appear.
To minimize the potential risk for an adverse liver related event in patients treated with diclofenac sodium, the lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest duration possible. Caution should be exercised in prescribing diclofenac sodium with concomitant drugs that are known to be potentially hepatotoxic (e.g., antibiotics, anti-epileptics).

Hypertension

NSAIDs, including VOLTAREN® GEL, can lead to the onset of new hypertension or worsening of preexisting hypertension, either of which may contribute to the increased incidence of cardiovascular events. Patients taking thiazides or loop diuretics may have impaired response to these therapies when taking NSAIDs. NSAIDs, including VOLTAREN® GEL should be used with caution in patients with hypertension. Blood pressure should be monitored closely during the initiation of therapy with VOLTAREN® GEL and throughout the course of therapy.

Congestive Heart Failure and Edema

Fluid retention and edema have been observed in some patients treated with NSAIDs, including VOLTAREN® GEL. VOLTAREN® GEL should be used with caution in patients with fluid retention or heart failure.

Renal Effects

Long-term administration of NSAIDs has resulted in renal papillary necrosis and other renal injury. Renal toxicity has also been seen in patients in whom renal prostaglandins have a compensatory role in the maintenance of renal perfusion. In these patients, administration of an NSAID may cause a dose-dependent reduction in prostaglandin formation and, secondarily, in renal blood flow, which may precipitate overt renal decompensation. Patients at greatest risk of this reaction are those with impaired renal function, heart failure, liver dysfunction, those taking diuretics and ACE-inhibitors, and the elderly. Discontinuation of NSAID therapy is usually followed by recovery to the pretreatment state.
No information is available from controlled clinical studies regarding the use of VOLTAREN® GEL in patients with advanced renal disease. Therefore, treatment with VOLTAREN® GEL is not recommended in patients with advanced renal disease. If VOLTAREN® GEL therapy is initiated, close monitoring of the patient's renal function is advisable.

Anaphylactoid Reactions

As with other NSAIDs, anaphylactoid reactions may occur in patients without prior exposure to VOLTAREN® GEL. VOLTAREN® GEL should not be given to patients with the aspirin triad. This symptom complex 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 NSAIDs [see Contraindications (4) , Warnings and Precautions] . Emergency help should be sought in cases where an anaphylactoid reaction occurs.

Skin Reactions

NSAIDs, including VOLTAREN® GEL, can cause serious skin adverse events such as exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which can be fatal. These serious events may occur without warning. Patients should be informed about the signs and symptoms of serious skin manifestations, and the use of the drug should be discontinued at the first appearance of skin rash or any other signs of hypersensitivity.
VOLTAREN® GEL should not be applied to open skin wounds, infections, inflammations, or exfoliative dermatitis, as it may affect absorption and tolerability of the drug. VOLTAREN® GEL should not be allowed to come into contact with the eyes or with mucous membranes.
The effect of VOLTAREN® GEL under occlusive dressings has not been evaluated, and should be avoided.

Pregnancy

As with other NSAIDs, VOLTAREN® GEL should be avoided in late pregnancy, because it may cause premature closure of the ductus arteriosus.

Corticosteroid treatment

VOLTAREN® GEL cannot be expected to substitute for corticosteroids or to treat corticosteroid insufficiency. Abrupt discontinuation of corticosteroids may lead to exacerbation of corticosteroid-responsive illness. Patients on prolonged corticosteroid therapy should have their therapy tapered slowly if a decision is made to discontinue corticosteroids.

Inflammation

The pharmacological activity of diclofenac in reducing inflammation, and possibly fever, may diminish the utility of these diagnostic signs in detecting infectious complications of presumed noninfectious, painful conditions.

Hematological Effects

Anemia is sometimes seen in patients receiving NSAIDs. This may be due to fluid retention, occult or gross GI blood loss, or an incompletely described effect upon erythropoeisis. Patients on long-term treatment with NSAIDs, including VOLTAREN® GEL, should have their hemoglobin or hematocrit checked if they exhibit any signs or symptoms of anemia or blood loss.
NSAIDs inhibit platelet aggregation and have been shown to prolong bleeding time in some patients. Unlike aspirin, their effect on platelet function is quantitatively less, of shorter duration, and reversible. Patients treated with VOLTAREN® GEL who may be adversely affected by alteration in platelet function, such as those with coagulation disorders or patients receiving anticoagulants should be carefully monitored.

Preexisting Asthma

Patients with asthma may have aspirin-sensitive asthma. The use of aspirin in patients with aspirin sensitive asthma has been associated with severe bronchospasm, which can be fatal. Since cross reactivity, including bronchospasm, between aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has been reported in such aspirin-sensitive patients, VOLTAREN® GEL should not be administered to patients with this form of aspirin sensitivity and should be used with caution in patients with preexisting asthma.

Sun Exposure

Patients should minimize or avoid exposure to natural or artificial sunlight on treated areas because studies in animals indicated topical diclofenac treatment resulted in an earlier onset of ultraviolet light induced skin tumors. The potential effects of VOLTAREN® GEL on skin response to ultraviolet damage in humans are not known.

Eye Exposure

Contact of VOLTAREN® GEL with eyes and mucosa, although not studied, should be avoided. Patients should be advised that if eye contact occurs, they should immediately wash out the eye with water or saline and consult a physician if irritation persists for more than an hour.

Laboratory Tests

Because serious GI tract ulcerations and bleeding can occur without warning symptoms, physicians should monitor for signs or symptoms of GI bleeding. Patients on long-term treatment with NSAIDs, should have a CBC and a chemistry profile checked periodically. If abnormal liver tests or renal tests persist or worsen, VOLTAREN® GEL should be discontinued.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Pregnancy

The safety of VOLTAREN® GEL has not been established during pregnancy. There are no well-controlled studies of diclofenac in pregnant women. Human and animal studies indicate that diclofenac crosses the placenta. In late pregnancy, as with other NSAIDs, VOLTAREN® GEL should be avoided because it may cause premature closure of the ductus arteriosus.

Teratogenic Effects
Pregnancy Category C: Studies in mice, rats, and rabbits in which diclofenac was administered orally throughout gestation revealed no evidence of teratogenicity despite the induction of maternal toxicity and fetal toxicity corresponding to a human equivalent dose approximately 4.5-, 2-, and 9-fold (mouse, rat, rabbit, respectively) of the maximum human topical dose of VOLTAREN® GEL (based on bioavailability and body surface area comparison).

Nonteratogenic Effects
The use of diclofenac, as with other NSAIDs, is associated with the adverse fetal cardiovascular effect of premature closure of the ductus arteriosus.

Labor and Delivery

In rat studies with oral NSAIDs, including diclofenac, as with other drugs known to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, there is an increased incidence of dystocia and delayed parturition corresponding to a human equivalent dose approximately similar to the maximum recommended clinical dose (based on bioavailability and body surface area comparison). The effects of VOLTAREN® GEL on labor and delivery in pregnant women are unknown.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether diclofenac is excreted in human milk; however, studies in animals detected diclofenac in the milk after oral administration. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from VOLTAREN® GEL a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Of the total number of subjects treated with VOLTAREN® GEL in clinical studies, 498 were 65 years of age and over. No overall differences in effectiveness or safety were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, but greater sensitivity to the effect of NSAIDs in some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Diclofenac, as with any NSAID, is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to VOLTAREN® GEL may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken when using VOLTAREN® GEL in the elderly, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.

Page last updated: 2014-11-25

-- advertisement -- The American Red Cross
 
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Site usage policy | Privacy policy

All Rights reserved - Copyright DrugLib.com, 2006-2017