What is diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren)?

Diclofenac is available in several dosage forms: oral tablet, oral liquid filled capsule, oral liquid, topical gel, topical solution, topical patch and ophthalmic solution.  It is a prescription medication similar to ibuprofen in the class of drugs called the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Diclofenac is produced as the sodium salt (delayed release tablet, extended release tablet, topical gel, topical solution), the potassium salt (tablet, liquid filled capsule, powder for oral solution) and the epolamine salt (the patch only).

Diclofenac is used orally for the mild to moderate pain associated with the following:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine)
  • Osteoarthritis (arthritis of joints)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (osteoarthritis caused by the body's immune system attacking its own joints) 
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation - period)
  • Migraine

Diclofenac is used topically for the mild to moderate pain associated with the following:

  • actinic keratosis (skin lesions from exposure to the sun)
  • minor strains, sprains and contusions

Diclofenac is used ophthalmically (in the eye) for the following:

  • ocular pain (eye pain after cornea surgery)
  • photophobia (light sensitivity after cornea surgery)
  • ocular inflammation (after cornea surgery)

Continue Learning about Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

An Alarming Side Effect of NSAIDs: Ovulation Stops
An Alarming Side Effect of NSAIDs: Ovulation Stops
According to research revealed at the 2015 European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress meeting, many women stop ovulating after taking standard...
Read More
Can taking NSAIDs for arthritis increase risk for heart disease?
Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff, MDDr. Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Many people take medications for both heart disease and arthritis. Typically, nonsteroidal anti-infl...
More Answers
How are non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) misused?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
The #1 most misused drugs in America are non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory pain  relievers, or N...
More Answers
Are Steroid Injections for Back Pain Safe?
Are Steroid Injections for Back Pain Safe?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.