Voltaren Gel: What It Is, Uses, Side Effects, and More
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If you have arthritis joint pain, you know that using a medicated gel such as Voltaren directly over the achy area can help. Like other topical gels, creams, and lotions for painful joints and muscles, Voltaren gel for arthritis is applied onto the skin for soothing relief.
“You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to buy this pain-relief gel over the counter. It is important to remember that Voltaren contains active medicated ingredients and that it may not be everyone. The temporary relief of arthritis joint pain can be achieved with the use of Voltaren gel.”
Voltaren is the brand name for a topical pain relief gel for arthritis pain that contains the medication diclofenac sodium, its active ingredient. You might find similar gels for joint pain by the generic name of “diclofenac gel” or “diclofenac sodium gel.”
They may not have the same amount of diclofenac as Voltaren gel. The OTC gel contains a small amount of diclofenac sodium.
- There is a place available over the counter.
- The FDA approved OTC pain relief.
- “People who don’t want to take pills may be better off with a gel.”
- There are many side effects.
- Not for use on actinic keratosis.
- It may take up to 7 days to feel any relief.
Voltaren gel is used topically on the skin to provide temporary relief of joint pain. This pain remedy is recommended for treating pain and tenderness from the most common type of arthritis: osteoarthritis in the knees, hands, and other joints. Voltaren pain-relieving gel may also be used to help ease aching joints due to rheumatoid arthritis.
Voltaren gel and other pain-relieving gels and creams may be a good option if you prefer to take less pain medication by mouth such as oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In higher doses, diclofenac gel is also used to treat a skin condition called actinic keratosis.
The active ingredient in the gel is not high enough to be used for this condition.
If you have mild to moderate arthritis pain, a doctor may recommend using a combination of oral and Voltaren gel.
The NSAID medication in the gel is similar to the drug ibuprofen. It works best on small joints because it reduces substances that cause pain and inflammation. It may take up to 7 days to work with voyran.
Some types of diclofenac gel may be able to provide some relief for joint pain. It might be dependent on how severe your arthritis pain is.
How well a gel like Voltaren works depends on how much diclofenac sodium it has.
A research trial from 2020 on how well a topical gel with 3.06% of diclofenac worked to ease pain due to osteoarthritis in the knee reported that the gel worked better than a placebo gel with no diclofenac at all. People in the study applied the gel twice a day for 4 weeks.
The OTC version of voyran contains 1% diclofenac. You may need a prescription to get the gels.
The rights to Voltaren Gel are owned by Glaxo Consumer healthcare. The Better Business Bureau does not have a profile of the company.
GSK’s Trustpilot rating is 2.7 out of 5 stars with about 20 customer reviews. One customer says that the company has “lousy and not honest client service!” Notably, the user reviews don’t mention Voltaren gel specifically.
User reviews about the actual Voltaren gel product tell a different story. On the Voltaren gel website, about 315 users rate the product 4.5 out of 5 stars. Further, 93% of users would recommend Voltaren gel to a friend. One user says, “great to have a local NSAID [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] approach that alleviates pain without risking side effects of oral NSAIDs.”
“One user says that it can be difficult to squeeze out of the tube. I have arthritis in my hands and the tube is hard to squeeze, which is what I don’t like. It would be better in a jar.”
On Amazon, Voltaren gel also has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating and over 40,000 reviews.
Customer service is available on weekdays between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST by phone at 1-855-297-3031 or by email at Consumer.Communications@gsk.com.
I spoke to several customer service agents over the course of a few days and was connected to a helpful agent within a few minutes. Customer service responded to my email requests within a couple of days.
Even OTC pain-relieving gels and other medications have powerful active ingredients and can cause side effects. Other ingredients such as perfumes and alcohol may also cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
Use the gel as directed. If you use Voltaren gel for off-label use, you should ask your doctor.
The side effects of vinoren gel may include:
- Where the gel was applied caused irritation or itching.
- Skin is dry, red, or scales.
- There are cysts on the skin.
- There is swelling or hives.
- There are sensations of numbness and tingling.
- nausea or vomiting
- stomach ache
- upset stomach
- There are symptoms of indigestion and smilng.
When not to use Voltaren gel
- Experiencing side effects: If you experience any of the side effects listed above or other side effects, stop using Voltaren gel immediately. Speak to a health professional if you have serious side effects or if side effects don’t go away after you stop using this medicated gel.
- During pregnancy or nursing: Do not use Voltaren gel for arthritis if you are pregnant or nursing.
- With heart disease: A research
studyalso reported that you shouldn’t use diclofenac if you have a history of cardiovascular (heart) disease.
- With severe kidney disease: Discuss with your physician prior to using Voltaren gel.
There are potential risks and side effects of using vinoren gel for arthritis joint pain. Talk with your doctor before you try a product.
People with a history of osteoarthritis should always discuss their use of planned over-the-counter therapies with their doctor.
“Persons who have knee or hand pain that is unrelated to arthritis should have the pain assessed first before self-treating to ensure that something more significant is not occurring and that the pain is something that can appropriately be treated with an over-the-counter therapy without causing further injury,” says Cathi Dennehy, PharmD, health sciences clinical professor of pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy.
“For some people, NSAID’s like Voltaren gel should be avoided.”
In patients with a history of stomach upset, recent heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure, or taking blood thinners, NSAIDs should be avoided.
If you plan to try Voltaren, you should talk to your doctor about the best options.
You can find Voltaren gel for arthritis pain in the pharmacy section of your grocery store.
The FDA approved the use of Voltaren gel as an OTC pain relief in 2020. It has been available in prescription strength. You need a prescription to purchase the product.
You can buy Voltaren gel online from many of the retailers you might shop at in person.
Is Voltaren gel available OTC in Canada?
There is a version of Voltaren pain relief gel called Voltaren Emugel that has slightly different doses of diclofenac sodium and other ingredients.
“You don’t need a prescription to purchase it in some provinces, but you will have to ask a pharmacy for it.”
There is a variety of topical pain medication gels and other products that you can purchase OTC. Some of these contain varying percentages of diclofenac sodium, the active ingredient in Voltaren gel for arthritis pain. Others contain different pain drugs including numbing medications.
There are OTC pain products.
- Blue Stop gel
- Tiger Balm
- lidocaine patches, which include OTC brands like Icy Hot and Walgreens, as well as prescription versions like Lidoderm and Dermalid
- Icy Hot
|Product||Price||Method of application|
|Blue Stop gel||about $17–$25||gel|
|Tiger Balm||about $3–$25||variety (from gels and ointments to patches and sprays)|
|lidocaine patches||about $10||patch|
|Icy Hot||about $6–$24||variety (from balms and foam to patches and sprays)|
What is Voltaren gel used to treat?
You may use Voltaren gel to temporarily relieve arthritis joint pain.
Where shouldn’t you use Voltaren gel?
Don’t use Voltaren gel on your back, hips, or shoulders. According to the National Library of Medicine, Voltaren gel hasn’t been studied for use on the hips, shoulders, or spine.
“Don’t apply Voltaren gel to wounds or eyes.”
Why can’t I use Voltaren gel on my back?
“Since it isn’t approved for use on the back, Voltaren gel isn’t approved for muscle pain.”
How long does it take for Voltaren gel to work?
It can take up to 7 days to work. Voltaren gel isn’t recommended for immediate relief of arthritis joint pain.
Is Voltaren gel dangerous?
It is possible. According to the National Library of Medicine, NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and bleeding and ulceration of the stomach. Further, diclofenac (the active ingredient in Voltaren gel) may cause potentially fatal skin adverse reactions like toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN).
Voltaren gel for arthritis pain contains 1% of the active ingredient diclofenac sodium and is There is a place available over the counter. in most pharmacies. It can help soothe pain and tenderness when applied to the skin over small joints.
“It is possible that vinoren may not work for everyone. Before using Voltaren, you should talk with a doctor. If you experience side effects or don’t like the way the gel works, stop using it and talk to a doctor. You may need to take other prescription pain medications.”