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How Effective Is Diclofenac for Arthritis?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 17, 2024
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Arthritis results when the joints become inflamed and painful. Many drugs are purported to treat this condition, including diclofenac. This drug appears to be beneficial for many arthritis sufferers, as it hinders production of inflammatory substances in the body. While using diclofenac for arthritis is generally safe and has received backing by major organizations, it can cause potentially dangerous problems in some individuals, including heart troubles or bleeding in the digestive system. Before taking this or any medication, individuals should consult a physician.

Diclofenac helps arthritis by blocking cyclooxygenase, which creates inflammatory substances called prostaglandins. The prostaglandins induce inflammation and subsequent pain and fever. Some other pain medications operate in a similar manner, including ibuprofen and naproxen. Because diclofenac and these other drugs do not have steroid components, they are generally not susceptible to some of the drawbacks associated with steroid drugs, such as narcotic, sleep-inducing properties.

Since it works to reduce the painful enlargement of body tissues that constitutes inflammation, diclofenac is categorized as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). In addition to arthritis, uses of diclofenac include the treatment of other inflammatory diseases like migraine headaches and spondylitis. Most NSAIDs have been approved by official medical organizations in various regions. The United Stated Federal Drug Administration gave diclofenac its seal of approval in 1998. This means that the drug has successfully passed the rigorous scientific testing and trials required for official approval.

The side effects of using diclofenac for arthritis may be adverse for some patients, as can interactions of diclofenac with other drugs. The drug sometimes produces harmful actions in the digestive and cardiac systems, particularly in elderly individuals or individuals with pre-existing heart problems. Heart attack, stroke, and stomach or intestinal bleeding constitute the most prominent dangers of taking this drug. Any blood in stools or coughing particles or any chest pains should be followed by immediate medical attention. In addition, other pain, allergy, or cold medications may adversely interact with the drug.

Some precautions can enhance the effectiveness of diclofenac for arthritis. For one, the recommended diclofenac dosage should be respected, which is typically around 100 to 200 milligrams a day. When the drug is taken, ingestion with food can help control potential nausea. In order to keep this medication fresh and fully functional, it should be stored in a moisture-free, relatively cool environment. Temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (about 29 degrees Celsius) can have a negative effect on the drug's viability.

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