After accounting for potentially confounding factors, the researchers found a major risk of heart diseases. The rate of major cardiovascular problems — such as arrhythmia, ischemic stroke, heart failure, and heart attack — was much higher, within 30 days of taking up diclofenac,
Even people without heart disease or risk factors could have a stroke or heart attack while taking this medicine.
Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
Diclofenac may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using this medicine, especially in older adults.
You should not use diclofenac if you are allergic to it, or if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID.
Do not use Cambia to treat a cluster headache. Do not use Zipsor if you are allergic to beef or beef protein.
To make sure diclofenac is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you smoke;
- a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot;
- a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding;
- liver or kidney disease;
- fluid retention.
Diclofenac side effects may include:
- indigestion, gas, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;
- diarrhea, constipation;
- headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
- stuffy nose;
- itching, increased sweating;
- increased blood pressure; or
- swelling or pain in your arms or legs.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
Taking diclofenac during the last 3 months of pregnancy may harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
This large study looked at the health records of more than 8 million patients, with an average age of 77. The study was concluded after the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac.
During the study period, the researchers examined the cardiovascular risks of taking up diclofenac and compared them with the risks of starting paracetamol, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Specifically, the risk of such adverse cardiovascular events was 50 percent higher among those who started taking diclofenac, compared with those who did not take it. Compared with taking ibuprofen, taking diclofenac raised cardiovascular risk by 20 percent.
Additionally, “Diclofenac initiation […] increased the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding […] by approximately 4.5-fold compared with no initiation [and] 2.5-fold compared with initiation of ibuprofen or paracetamol.”
The cardiovascular threat also increased with the risk at baseline. In other words, the higher the risk of heart problems when the patients started taking the drug, the higher the risk of actually developing heart problems over the course of the treatment.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.