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Cardiovascular Thrombotic Events
Clinical trials of several oral 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 (MI), and stroke, which can be fatal. All NSAIDs, including PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) and COX-2 selective and nonselective orally administered NSAIDs, 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 an NSAID, use the lowest effective dose 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. Inform patients about the signs and/or symptoms of serious CV events and the steps to take if they occur.
Two large, controlled, clinical trials of an orally administered COX-2 selective NSAID for the treatment of pain in the first 10 to 14 days following CABG surgery found an increased incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
There is no consistent evidence that concurrent use of aspirin mitigates the increased risk of serious CV thrombotic events associated with NSAID use. The concurrent use of aspirin and NSAIDs, such as diclofenac, does increase the risk of serious GI events [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Gastrointestinal Effects - Risk of GI Ulceration, Bleeding, and Perforation
NSAIDs, including diclofenac, can cause serious gastrointestinal (GI) adverse 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 to 6 months, and in about 2 to 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.
Prescribe NSAIDs, including PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) , with extreme caution in those 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 NSAID 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, use special care when treating this population.
To minimize the potential risk for an adverse GI event, use the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration. 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, consider alternate therapies that do not involve NSAIDs.
Borderline elevations (less than 3 times the upper limit of the normal [ULN] range) or greater elevations of transaminases occurred in about 15% of oral diclofenac-treated patients in clinical trials of indications other than acute pain. Of the markers of hepatic function, ALT (SGPT) is recommended for the monitoring of liver injury.
In clinical trials of an oral diclofenac-misoprostol combination product, meaningful elevations (i.e., more than 3 times the ULN) of AST (SGOT) occurred in about 2% of approximately 5,700 patients at some time during diclofenac treatment (ALT was not measured in all studies).
In an open-label, controlled trial of 3,700 patients treated for 2 to 6 months, patients with oral diclofenac 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 the 3,700 patients and included marked elevations (>8 times the ULN) in about 1% of the 3,700 patients. In this open-label study, a higher incidence of borderline (less than 3 times the ULN), moderate (3 to 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 oral 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 NSAID therapy.
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.
In a European retrospective population-based, case-controlled study, 10 cases of oral diclofenac associated drug-induced liver injury with current use compared with non-use of diclofenac were associated with a statistically significant 4-fold adjusted odds ratio of liver injury. In this particular study, based on an overall number of 10 cases of liver injury associated with diclofenac, the adjusted odds ratio increased further with female gender, doses of 150 mg or more, and duration of use for more then 90 days.
Measure transaminases (ALT and AST) 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, monitor transaminases 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.), discontinue PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) immediately.
To minimize the possibility that hepatic injury will become severe between transaminase measurements, inform patients of the warning signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity (e.g., nausea, fatigue, lethargy, diarrhea, pruritus, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, and "flulike" symptoms), and the appropriate action to take if these signs and symptoms appear.
To minimize the potential risk for an adverse liver-related event in patients treated with PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) , use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible. Exercise caution when prescribing PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) with concomitant drugs that are known to be potentially hepatotoxic (e.g., acetaminophen, certain antibiotics, antiepileptics). Caution patients to avoid taking unprescribed acetaminophen while using PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) .
NSAIDs, including diclofenac, can lead to new onset or worsening of preexisting hypertension, either of which may contribute to the increased incidence of CV events. Use NSAIDs, including PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) , with caution in patients with hypertension. Monitor blood pressure (BP) closely during the initiation of NSAID treatment and throughout the course of therapy.
Patients taking ACE-inhibitors, thiazides or loop diuretics may have impaired response to these therapies when taking NSAIDs.
Congestive Heart Failure and Edema
Fluid retention and edema have been observed in some patients treated with NSAIDs, including PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) . Use PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) with caution in patients with fluid retention or heart failure.
Use caution when initiating treatment with PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) in patients with considerable dehydration.
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 PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) in patients with advanced renal disease. Therefore, treatment with PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) is not recommended in patients with advanced renal disease. If PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) therapy is initiated, close monitoring of the patient's renal function is advisable.
As with other NSAIDs, anaphylactoid reactions may occur in patients without prior exposure to PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) . Do not prescribe PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) 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]. Seek emergency help in cases where an anaphylactoid reaction occurs.
NSAIDs, including PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) , 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. Inform patients about the signs and symptoms of serious skin manifestations, and discontinue use of the drug at the first appearance of skin rash or any other signs of hypersensitivity.
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 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has been reported in such aspirin-sensitive patients, do not administer PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) to patients with this form of aspirin sensitivity and use with caution in patients with preexisting asthma.
Instruct patients to avoid exposure to natural or artificial sunlight on treated knee(s) because studies in animals indicated topical diclofenac treatment resulted in an earlier onset of ultraviolet light-induced skin tumors. The potential effects of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) on skin response to ultraviolet damage in humans are not known.
Avoid contact of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) with eyes and mucosa. Advise patients that if eye contact occurs, immediately wash out the eye with water or saline and consult a physician if irritation persists for more than an hour.
Oral Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Concomitant use of oral NSAIDs with PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) resulted in a higher rate of rectal hemorrhage, more frequent abnormal creatinine, urea and hemoglobin. Therefore, do not use combination therapy with
PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) and an oral NSAID unless the benefit outweighs the risk and conduct periodic laboratory evaluations.
PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) cannot be expected to substitute for corticosteroids or to treat corticosteroid insufficiency. Abrupt discontinuation of corticosteroids may lead to exacerbation of corticosteroid-response illness. For patients on prolonged corticosteroid therapy, taper slowly if a decision is made to discontinue corticosteroids.
The pharmacological activity of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) in reducing inflammation, and possibly fever, may diminish the utility of these diagnostic signs in detecting complications of presumed noninfectious, painful conditions.
The effects of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) on platelet function were studied in 10 healthy subjects administered 80 drops four times a day for 7 days. There was no significant change in platelet aggregation following one week of treatment [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
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 erythropoiesis. Check hemoglobin or hematocrit of patients on PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) 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. Carefully monitor patients receiving PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) who may be adversely affected by alterations in platelet function, such as those with coagulation disorders or patients receiving anticoagulants.
Because serious GI tract ulcerations and bleeding can occur without warning symptoms in patients taking NSAIDs, monitor patients for signs or symptoms of GI bleeding. Check CBC and a chemistry profile periodically in patients on long-term treatment with NSAIDs. Discontinue PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) if abnormal liver tests or renal tests persist or worsen.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinogenicity studies in mice and rats administered diclofenac sodium as a dietary constituent for 2 years resulted in no significant increases in tumor incidence at doses up to 2 mg/kg/day corresponding to approximately 0.35- and 0.7-fold (mouse and rat, respectively) of the maximum recommended human topical dose (MRHD) of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) (based on apparent bioavailability and body surface area comparison).
In a dermal carcinogenicity study conducted in albino mice, daily topical applications of diclofenac sodium for two years at concentrations up to 0.035% diclofenac sodium (a 43-fold lower diclofenac sodium concentration than present in PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) ) did not increase neoplasm incidence.
In a photococarcinogenicity study conducted in hairless mice, topical application of diclofenac sodium at doses up to 0.035% diclofenac sodium (a 43-fold lower diclofenac sodium concentration than present in PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) ) resulted in an earlier median time of onset of tumors.
Mutagenesis: Diclofenac was not mutagenic or clastogenic in a battery of genotoxicity tests that included the bacterial reverse mutation assay, in vitro mouse lymphoma point mutation assay, chromosomal aberration studies in Chinese hamster ovarian cells in vitro, and in vivo rat chromosomal aberration assay of bone marrow cells.
Impairment of Fertility: Fertility studies have not been conducted with PENNSAID. Diclofenac sodium administered to male and female rats at doses up to 4 mg/kg/day (1.4-fold of the MRHD of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) based on apparent bioavailability and body surface area comparison) did not affect fertility. Studies have not been conducted to determine the safety of DMSO on fertility.
Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology
No adverse effects were observed using indirect ophthalmoscopy after multiple-daily dermal application to rats for 26 weeks and minipigs for 52 weeks of DMSO at twice the concentration found in PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) . Published studies of dermal or oral administration of DMSO to rabbits, dogs and pigs described refractive changes of lens curvature and cortical fibers indicative of myopic changes and/or incidences of lens opacity or discoloration when evaluated using slit-lamp biomicroscopy examination, although no ocular abnormalities were observed in rhesus monkeys during daily oral or dermal treatment with DMSO for 9 to 18 months.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C prior to 30 weeks gestation; Category D starting 30 weeks gestation.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) in pregnant women. PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) should not be used by pregnant women as its safe use has not been adequately determined and starting at 30 weeks gestation, diclofenac and other NSAIDs should be avoided by pregnant women as premature closure of the ductus arteriosus in the fetus may occur. Developmental studies in animals demonstrated that diclofenac sodium administration did not produce teratogenicity despite the induction of maternal toxicity and fetal toxicity in mice at doses up to 20 mg/kg/day (0.6-fold the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD] of 154 mg/day based on body surface area comparison), and in rats and rabbits at doses up to 10 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.6-fold and 1.3-fold the MRHD, respectively). Published reproductive and developmental studies of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO, the solvent used in PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) ) are equivocal as to potential teratogenicity.
In rats, maternally toxic doses of diclofenac were associated with dystocia, prolonged gestation, reduced fetal weights and growth, and reduced fetal survival.
Labor and Delivery
The effects of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) on labor and delivery in pregnant women are unknown. In rat studies maternal exposure to diclofenac, as with other NSAID drugs, known to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, increased the incidence of dystocia, delayed parturition, and decreased offspring survival.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk; however, there is a case report in the literature indicating that diclofenac can be detected at low levels in breast milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) , 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.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Of the 911 patients treated with PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) in seven controlled, Phase 3 clinical trials, 444 subjects were 65 years of age and over. There was no age-related difference in the incidence of adverse events. Of the 793 patients treated with PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) in one open-labeled safety trial, 334 subjects were 65 years of age and over including 107 subjects 75 and over. There was no difference in the incidence of adverse events with long-term exposure to PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) for this elderly population. As with any NSAID, use caution in treating the elderly (65 years and older) and it may be useful to monitor renal function since they are more likely to have decreased baseline renal function.
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/24/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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