The Uses and Effects of Voltaren (Diclofenac)

Voltaren, a brand name of diclofenac, helps to reduce pain and inflammation. Today, we'll tell you what you need to know about the uses and effects of Voltaren.
The Uses and Effects of Voltaren (Diclofenac)

Last update: 17 December, 2020

Voltaren is the commercial brand of an active ingredient known as diclofenac. The active ingredient is a chemical substance that triggers an effect in the body. In this sense, diclofenac is a drug that belongs to the family of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Therefore, this drug is prescribed to reduce inflammations and treat pain, such as that of menstrual cramps. That is, the same ailments that the rest of the drugs of its chemical category also treat. In the article below, we’ll take a closer look at the uses and effects of Voltaren.

The effects of Voltaren on the body

A hand holding a bunch of white pills, with blister packs of other pills in the background.

Voltaren, or diclofenac, is a phenylacetic derivative that has a mechanism of action like that of other NSAIDs. And, just as in the case of other NSAIDs, scientists aren’t completely aware of their mechanism of action.

It seems to involve the inhibition of cyclooxygenases enzymes. Cyclooxygenase or COX is an enzyme that allows the body to synthesize substances called prostaglandins from another chemical substance, arachidonic acid.

However, the mechanism of action of diclofenac may also have to do with the inhibition of the synthesis of prostaglandins. These are substances that participate in inflammatory responses and stimulate pain nerve endings.

In this way, diclofenac acts by inhibiting cyclooxygenase and, therefore, the production of prostaglandins to finally reduce pain and inflammation.

At the same time, these substances also have another series of functions such as maintaining the integrity and proliferation of the gastric mucosa. This is because they ensure adequate blood supply.

This mucous membrane is responsible for protecting the stomach from irritating substances or microorganisms. Therefore, since this synthesis of prostaglandins is inhibited, the gastric mucosa is without protection. This explains why these drugs can trigger a peptide ulcer.

Rheumatoid arthritis and Voltaren

In addition to fighting menstrual cramps, this drug is a popular option for the treatment of arthritic diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that mainly affects the joints.

In some people, the disorder can damage various parts of the body in addition to the joints, such as the skin, eyes, or lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues, triggering episodes of pain and inflammation.

Therefore, thanks to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic capacity of Voltaren, it’s able to reduce the symptoms of this disease.

What is osteoarthritis?

A woman holding her knee.

This is another rheumatic disease for which Voltaren is useful. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis only affects the joints and not other parts of the body. It’s the most common type of arthritis.

This disease damages the cartilage in the joints. As a result, the bone no longer has protection to keep it from rubbing against other bones. As a result, the bones begin to collide directly. This friction leads to pain, swelling, and loss of movement in the joint.

Over time, the joint often loses its normal appearance. Additional bone spurs or growth may occur at the edges of the joint. In addition, some joint structures may become loose, causing even more pain.

What about ankylosing spondylitis?

This is another disease that Voltaren can be beneficial for. Ankylosing spondylitis, or Bechterew’s disease, is a rheumatic disease that causes inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints. It usually manifests itself with pain in the lumbar area of the back that can affect the entire spine and the peripheral joints.

Ankylosing spondylitis can be accompanied by extra-articular symptoms such as inflammation of the eyes or heart valves.

Experts are yet to discover the cause of this disease. However, they’ve linked it to genetic factors. In addition, it affects more men than women and usually appears in adolescence or youth.

The side effects of Voltaren

Rheumatoid arthritis

Like all medications, diclofenac can produce certain side effects. The most well-known and frequent side effects of Voltaren are gastric ulcers produced by its continued use by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins.

However, there are also other undesirable effects when it comes to the administration of this NSAID. For example, we can mention the following:

  • Alterations in the intestinal tract: Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or flatulence
  • Central nervous system: Headaches, dizziness, and vertigo
  • Sensory organs: Blurred vision or taste alterations
  • Skin: Skin rashes or hives
  • Kidney problems
  • Hemodynamic alterations
  • Allergic reactions

Conclusion

To conclude, Voltaren is a prescription drug that’s effective in reducing inflammatory conditions and severe pain. Patients can take it orally or use it topically as a cream.

Always follow your doctor’s instructions, since improper use of this drug can cause serious damage to the gastric mucosa and other undesirable effects.

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