PENNSAID

Last updated on RxList: 5/10/2021
PENNSAID Side Effects Center

What Is Pennsaid?

Pennsaid (diclofenac sodium topical solution) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee(s).

What Are Side Effects of Pennsaid?

Common side effects of Pennsaid include:

Dosage for Pennsaid

The recommended dose of Pennsaid is 40 drops per knee, 4 times a day, applied to clean, dry skin.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Pennsaid?

Pennsaid may interact with anti-platelet drugs, blood thinners, cidofovir, corticosteroids, cyclosporine, desmopressin, digoxin, high blood pressure drugs, lithium, methotrexate, probenecid, SSRI antidepressants, and diuretics (water pills). Tell your doctor all medications you are taking.

Pennsaid During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

Pennsaid should be used only when prescribed during the first 6 months of pregnancy. It is not recommended for use during the last 3 months of pregnancy due to possible harm to the fetus. Based on information from related drugs, this medication may pass into breast milk. Though there have been no reports of harm to nursing infants, consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Pennsaid Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

QUESTION

The term arthritis refers to stiffness in the joints. See Answer
PENNSAID Consumer Information

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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, wheezing or trouble breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Although the risk of serious side effects is low when diclofenac is applied to the skin, this medicine can be absorbed through the skin, which may cause steroid side effects throughout the body.

Stop using diclofenac and seek emergency medical attention if you have signs of a heart attack or stroke: chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, feeling short of breath.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a skin rash, no matter how mild;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;
  • little or no urination;
  • liver problems--nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • low red blood cells (anemia)--pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet; or
  • signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Common side effects may include:

  • heartburn, gas, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;
  • diarrhea, constipation;
  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
  • stuffy nose;
  • itching, increased sweating;
  • increased blood pressure; or
  • skin redness, itching, dryness, scaling, or peeling where the medicine was applied.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for PENNSAID (Diclofenac Sodium Topical Solution)

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PENNSAID Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the labeling:

  • Cardiovascular Thrombotic Events [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • GI Bleeding, Ulceration and Perforation [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hepatotoxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hypertension [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Heart Failure and Edema [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Renal Toxicity and Hyperkalemia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Anaphylactic Reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Serious Skin Reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hematologic Toxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The data described below reflect exposure to PENNSAID of 130 patients treated for 4 weeks (mean duration of 28 days) in one Phase 2 controlled trial. This population's mean age was approximately 60 years, 85% of patients were Caucasian, 65% were females, and all patients had primary osteoarthritis. The most common adverse events with PENNSAID were application site skin reactions. These events were the most common reason for withdrawing from the study.

Application Site Reactions

In this controlled trial, application site reactions were characterized by one or more of the following: dryness (22%), exfoliation (7%), erythema (4%), pruritus (2%), pain (2%), induration (2%), rash (2%), and scabbing (<1%).

Other Common Adverse Reactions

Table 1 lists all adverse reactions occurring in >1% of patients receiving PENNSAID, where the rate in the PENNSAID group exceeded vehicle, from a controlled study conducted in patients with osteoarthritis.

Table 1: Incidence of Adverse Reactions Occurring in >1% of Subjects with Osteoarthritis Using PENNSAID and More Often than in Subjects with OA Using Vehicle Control (Pooled)

Adverse Reaction PENNSAID
N=130
n (%)
Vehicle Control
N=129
n (%)
Urinary tract infection 4 (3%) 1 (<1%)
Application site induration 2 (2%) 1 (<1%)
Contusion 2 (2%) 1 (<1%)
Sinus congestion 2 (2%) 1 (<1%)
Nausea 2 (2%) 0

PENNSAID 1.5%

The safety of PENNSAID 2% is based in part, on prior experience with PENNSAID 1.5%. The data described below reflect exposure to PENNSAID 1.5% of 911 patients treated between 4 and 12 weeks (mean duration of 49 days) in seven Phase 3 controlled trials, as well as exposure of 793 patients treated in an open-label study, including 463 patients treated for at least 6 months, and 144 patients treated for at least 12 months. The population mean age was approximately 60 years, 89% of patients were Caucasian, 64% were females, and all patients had primary osteoarthritis. The most common adverse events with PENNSAID 1.5% were application site skin reactions. These events were the most common reason for withdrawing from the studies.

Application Site Reactions

In controlled trials, application site reactions were characterized by one or more of the following: dryness, erythema, induration, vesicles, paresthesia, pruritus, vasodilation, acne, and urticaria. The most frequent of these reactions were dry skin (32%), contact dermatitis characterized by skin erythema and induration (9%), contact dermatitis with vesicles (2%) and pruritus (4%). In one controlled trial, a higher rate of contact dermatitis with vesicles (4%) was observed after treatment of 152 subjects with the combination of PENNSAID 1.5% and oral diclofenac. In the open-label uncontrolled long-term safety study, contact dermatitis occurred in 13% and contact dermatitis with vesicles in 10% of patients, generally within the first 6 months of exposure, leading to a withdrawal rate for an application site event of 14%.

Other Common Adverse Reactions

In controlled trials, subjects treated with PENNSAID 1.5% experienced some adverse events associated with the NSAID class more frequently than subjects using placebo (constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, nausea, flatulence, abdominal pain, edema; see Table 2). The combination of PENNSAID 1.5% and oral diclofenac, compared to oral diclofenac alone, resulted in a higher rate of rectal hemorrhage (3% vs. less than 1%), and more frequent abnormal creatinine (12% vs. 7%), urea (20% vs. 12%), and hemoglobin (13% vs. 9%), but no difference in elevation of liver transaminases.

Table 2 lists all adverse reactions occurring in ≥1% of patients receiving PENNSAID 1.5%, where the rate in the PENNSAID 1.5% group exceeded placebo, from seven controlled studies conducted in patients with osteoarthritis. Since these trials were of different durations, these percentages do not capture cumulative rates of occurrence.

Table 2: Adverse Reactions Occurring in ≥1% of Patients Treated with PENNSAID 1.5% Topical Solution in Placebo and Oral Diclofenac-Controlled Trials

Treatment Group: PENNSAID 1.5%
N=911
Topical Placebo
N=332
Adverse Reaction N (%) N (%)
Dry Skin (Application Site) 292 (32) 17 (5)
Contact Dermatitis (Application Site) 83 (9) 6 (2)
Dyspepsia 72 (8) 13 (4)
Abdominal Pain 54 (6) 10 (3)
Flatulence 35 (4) 1 (<1)
Pruritus (Application Site) 34 (4) 7 (2)
Diarrhea 33 (4) 7 (2)
Nausea 33 (4) 3 (1)
Pharyngitis 40 (4) 13 (4)
Constipation 29 (3) 1 (<1)
Edema 26 (3) 0
Rash (Non-Application Site) 25 (3) 5 (2)
Infection 25 (3) 8 (2)
Ecchymosis 19 (2) 1 (<1)
Dry Skin (Non-Application Site) 19 (2) 1 (<1)
Contact Dermatitis, vesicles (Application Site) 18 (2) 0
Paresthesia (Non-Application Site) 14 (2) 3 (<1)
Accidental Injury 22 (2) 7 (2)
Pruritus (Non-Application Site) 15 (2) 2 (<1)
Sinusitis 10 (1) 2 (<1)
Halitosis 11 (1) 1 (<1)
Application Site Reaction (not otherwise specified) 11 (1) 3 (<1)

Postmarketing Experience

In postmarketing surveillance, the following adverse reactions have been reported during post- approval use of PENNSAID 1.5%. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Body as a Whole: abdominal pain, accidental injury, allergic reactions, asthenia, back pain, body odor, chest pain, edema, face edema, halitosis, headache, neck rigidity, pain

Cardiovascular: palpitation, cardiovascular disorder

Gastrointestinal: diarrhea, dry mouth, dyspepsia, gastroenteritis, decreased appetite, lip swelling, mouth ulceration, nausea, rectal hemorrhage, ulcerative stomatitis, swollen tongue

Metabolic and Nutritional: creatinine increased

Musculoskeletal: leg cramps, myalgia

Nervous: depression, dizziness, drowsiness, lethargy, paresthesia at application site

Respiratory: asthma, dyspnea, laryngismus, laryngitis, pharyngitis, throat swelling

Skin and Appendages: At the Application Site: rash, skin burning sensation;

Other Skin and Appendages Adverse Reactions: eczema, skin discoloration, urticaria

Special Senses: abnormal vision, blurred vision, cataract, ear pain, eye disorder, eye pain, taste perversion

Vascular: blood pressure increased, hypertension

DRUG INTERACTIONS

See Table 3 for clinically significant drug interactions with diclofenac.

Table 3: Clinically Significant Drug Interactions with Diclofenac

Drugs That Interfere with Hemostasis
Clinical Impact:
  • Diclofenac and anticoagulants such as warfarin have a synergistic effect on bleeding. The concomitant use of diclofenac and anticoagulants have increased the risk of serious bleeding compared to the use of either drug alone.
  • Serotonin release by platelets plays an important role in hemostasis. Case-control and cohort epidemiological studies showed that concomitant use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and an NSAID may potentiate the risk of bleeding more than an NSAID alone.
Intervention: Monitor patients with concomitant use of PENNSAID with anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin), antiplatelet agents (e.g., aspirin), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) for signs of bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Aspirin
Clinical Impact: Controlled clinical studies showed that the concomitant use of NSAIDs and analgesic doses of aspirin does not produce any greater therapeutic effect than the use of NSAIDs alone. In a clinical study, the concomitant use of an NSAID and aspirin was associated with a significantly increased incidence of GI adverse reactions as compared to use of the NSAID alone [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Intervention: Concomitant use of PENNSAID and analgesic doses of aspirin is not generally recommended because of the increased risk of bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

PENNSAID is not a substitute for low dose aspirin for cardiovascular protection.

ACE Inhibitors, Angiotensin Receptor Blockers, and Beta-Blockers
Clinical Impact:
  • NSAIDs may diminish the antihypertensive effect of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or beta-blockers (including propranolol).
  • In patients who are elderly, volume-depleted (including those on diuretic therapy), or have renal impairment, co-administration of an NSAID with ACE inhibitors or ARBs may result in deterioration of renal function, including possible acute renal failure. These effects are usually reversible.
Intervention:
  • During concomitant use of PENNSAID and ACE-inhibitors, ARBs, or beta-blockers, monitor blood pressure to ensure that the desired blood pressure is obtained.
  • During concomitant use of PENNSAID and ACE-inhibitors or ARBs in patients who are elderly, volumedepleted, or have impaired renal function, monitor for signs of worsening renal function [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • When these drugs are administered concomitantly, patients should be adequately hydrated. Assess renal function at the beginning of the concomitant treatment and periodically thereafter.
Diuretics
Clinical Impact: Clinical studies, as well as post-marketing observations, showed that NSAIDs reduced the natriuretic effect of loop diuretics (e.g., furosemide) and thiazide diuretics in some patients. This effect has been attributed to the NSAID inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis.
Intervention: During concomitant use of PENNSAID with diuretics, observe patients for signs of worsening renal function, in addition to assuring diuretic efficacy including antihypertensive effects [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Digoxin
Clinical Impact: The concomitant use of diclofenac with digoxin has been reported to increase the serum concentration and prolong the half-life of digoxin.
Intervention: During concomitant use of PENNSAID and digoxin, monitor serum digoxin levels.
Lithium
Clinical Impact: NSAIDs have produced elevations in plasma lithium levels and reductions in renal lithium clearance. The mean minimum lithium concentration increased 15%, and the renal clearance decreased by approximately 20%. This effect has been attributed to NSAID inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis.
Intervention: During concomitant use of PENNSAID and lithium, monitor patients for signs of lithium toxicity.
Methotrexate
Clinical Impact: Concomitant use of NSAIDs and methotrexate may increase the risk for methotrexate toxicity (e.g., neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, renal dysfunction)
Intervention: During concomitant use of PENNSAID and methotrexate, monitor patients for methotrexate toxicity.
Cyclosporine
Clinical Impact: Concomitant use of PENNSAID and cyclosporine may increase cyclosporine's nephrotoxicity.
Intervention: During concomitant use of PENNSAID and cyclosporine, monitor patients for signs of worsening renal function.
NSAIDs and Salicylates
Clinical Impact: Concomitant use of diclofenac with other NSAIDs or salicylates (e.g., diflunisal, salsalate) increases the risk of GI toxicity, with little or no increase in efficacy [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Concomitant use of oral NSAIDs with PENNSAID has been evaluated in one Phase 3 controlled trial and in combination with oral diclofenac, compared to oral diclofenac alone, resulted in a higher rate of rectal hemorrhage (3% vs. less than 1%), and more frequent abnormal creatinine (12% vs. 7%), urea (20% vs. 12%) and hemoglobin (13% vs. 9%).

Intervention: The concomitant use of diclofenac with other NSAIDs or salicylates is not recommended.

Do not use combination therapy with PENNSAID and an oral NSAID unless the benefit outweighs the risk and conduct periodic laboratory evaluations.

Pemetrexed
Clinical Impact: Concomitant use of PENNSAID and pemetrexed may increase the risk of pemetrexed-associated myelosuppression, renal, and GI toxicity (see the pemetrexed prescribing information).
Intervention: During concomitant use of PENNSAID and pemetrexed, in patients with renal impairment whose creatinine clearance ranges from 45 to 79 mL/min, monitor for myelosuppression, renal and GI toxicity.

NSAIDs with short elimination half-lives (e.g., diclofenac, indomethacin) should be avoided for a period of two days before, the day of, and two days following administration of pemetrexed.

In the absence of data regarding potential interaction between pemetrexed and NSAIDs with longer half-lives (e.g., meloxicam, nabumetone), patients taking these NSAIDs should interrupt dosing for at least five days before, the day of, and two days following pemetrexed administration.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for PENNSAID (Diclofenac Sodium Topical Solution)

© PENNSAID Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and PENNSAID Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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