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Mechanism Of Action
Diclofenac is a potent inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis in vitro. Diclofenac concentrations reached during therapy have produced in vivo effects. Prostaglandins sensitize afferent nerves and potentiate the action of bradykinin in inducing pain in animal models. Prostaglandins are mediators of inflammation. Because diclofenac is an inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis, its mode of action may be due to a decrease of prostaglandins in peripheral tissues.
Diclofenac is 100% absorbed after oral administration compared to IV administration as measured by urine recovery. However, due to first-pass metabolism, only about 50% of the absorbed dose is systemically available (see Table 1). Food has no significant effect on the extent of diclofenac absorption. However, there is usually a delay in the onset of absorption of 1 to 4.5 hours and a reduction in peak plasma levels of <20%.
Pharmacokinetic Parameters for Diclofenac
|PK Parameter||Normal Healthy Adults
Mean Variation (%)
|Absolute Bioavailability (%) [N = 7]||55||40|
|Tmax (hr) [N = 56]||2.3||69|
|Oral Clearance (CL/F; mL/min) [N = 56]||582||23|
|Renal Clearance (% unchanged drug in urine) [N = 7]||<1||-|
|Apparent Volume of Distribution (V/F; L/kg) [N = 56]||1.4||58|
|Terminal Half-life (hr)[N = 56]||2.3||48|
The apparent volume of distribution (V/F) of diclofenac sodium is 1.4 L/kg.
Diclofenac is more than 99% bound to human serum proteins, primarily to albumin. Serum protein binding is constant over the concentration range (0.15-105 mcg/mL) achieved with recommended doses.
Diclofenac diffuses into and out of the synovial fluid. Diffusion into the joint occurs when plasma levels are higher than those in the synovial fluid, after which the process reverses and synovial fluid levels are higher than plasma levels. It is not known whether diffusion into the joint plays a role in the effectiveness of diclofenac.
Five diclofenac metabolites have been identified in human plasma and urine. The metabolites include 4'hydroxy-, 5-hydroxy-, 3'-hydroxy-, 4',5-dihydroxy- and 3'-hydroxy-4'-methoxy-diclofenac. The major diclofenac metabolite, 4'-hydroxy-diclofenac, has very weak pharmacologic activity. The formation of 4’-hydroxy- diclofenac is primarily mediated by CYP2C9. Both diclofenac and its oxidative metabolites undergo glucuronidation or sulfation followed by biliary excretion. Acylglucuronidation mediated by UGT2B7 and oxidation mediated by CYP2C8 may also play a role in diclofenac metabolism. CYP3A4 is responsible for the formation of minor metabolites, 5-hydroxy- and 3’-hydroxy-diclofenac. In patients with renal dysfunction, peak concentrations of metabolites 4'-hydroxy- and 5-hydroxy-diclofenac were approximately 50% and 4% of the parent compound after single oral dosing compared to 27% and 1% in normal healthy subjects.
Diclofenac is eliminated through metabolism and subsequent urinary and biliary excretion of the glucuronide and the sulfate conjugates of the metabolites. Little or no free unchanged diclofenac is excreted in the urine. Approximately 65% of the dose is excreted in the urine and approximately 35% in the bile as conjugates of unchanged diclofenac plus metabolites. Because renal elimination is not a significant pathway of elimination for unchanged diclofenac, dosing adjustment in patients with mild to moderate renal dysfunction is not necessary. The terminal half-life of unchanged diclofenac is approximately 2 hours.
Pediatric: The pharmacokinetics of VOLTAREN has not been investigated in pediatric patients.
Race: Pharmacokinetic differences due to race have not been identified.
Hepatic Impairment: Hepatic metabolism accounts for almost 100% of VOLTAREN elimination, so patients with hepatic disease may require reduced doses of VOLTAREN compared to patients with normal hepatic function.
Renal Impairment: Diclofenac pharmacokinetics has been investigated in subjects with renal insufficiency. No differences in the pharmacokinetics of diclofenac have been detected in studies of patients with renal impairment. In patients with renal impairment (inulin clearance 60-90, 30-60, and <30 mL/min; N=6 in each group), AUC values and elimination rate were comparable to those in healthy subjects.
Drug Interactions Studies
Voriconazole: When co-administered with voriconazole (inhibitor of CYP2C9, 2C19 and 3A4 enzyme), the Cmax and AUC of diclofenac increased by 114% and 78%, respectively (see DRUG INTERACTIONS).
Aspirin: When NSAIDs were administered with aspirin, the protein binding of NSAIDs were reduced, although the clearance of free NSAID was not altered. The clinical significance of this interaction is not known. See Table 2 for clinically significant drug interactions of NSAIDs with aspirin (see DRUG INTERACTIONS).
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/18/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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