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What Are the Most Common Diclofenac Side Effects?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Diclofenac is a generic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication commonly used to treat mild to moderate pain. As is the case with any medication, side effects are possible. Some of the most common diclofenac side effects include gastrointestinal disturbances, internal bleeding, lightheadedness, and ringing in the ears. Impaired kidney function may also occur when using this medication, so periodic kidney function tests may be recommended if this medication is used for a prolonged period of time. Many people can use this medication without experiencing any negative side effects, although any bothersome or persistent diclofenac side effects should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation.

Gastrointestinal problems are by far the most commonly reported diclofenac side effects. Some of these symptoms may include nausea, abdominal pain, and cramping. Ulcerations and internal bleeding may also occur, so these symptoms should not be ignored. Liver damage has been reported in some who take this medication. The longer diclofenac is taken, the greater the risks of developing serious complications.

A feeling of being lightheaded and ringing the ears are relatively common diclofenac side effects. These particular side effects frequently lessen in intensity after taking the medication for a while. The patient should avoid any sudden movements and rise slowly from a seated position if these symptoms are present. If the symptoms persist or become severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform normal tasks, a doctor should be consulted.

Long-term diclofenac side effects may include a reduction in blood flow to the kidneys and impaired renal function. For this reason, patients who already have diagnosed kidney problems or congestive heart failure may not be able to take this type of medication. Periodic blood or urine tests may be ordered so that kidney function can be closely monitored while this medication is being used. Many doctors will only recommend that this medication is used on a short-term basis in order to avoid some of the more serious potential diclofenac side effects.

While a severe allergic reaction is not among the more common diclofenac side effects, it can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Symptoms such as itching, hives, swelling of the face or throat, or difficulty breathing should be treated as a medical emergency. Treatment can often begin while being transported to the hospital on an ambulance, so the patient should not attempt to drive to the hospital. Any questions or concerns about the various potential diclofenac side effects should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

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