What is Voltaren Gel (Emulgel)?
Voltaren Gel is a topical, medicinal gel that helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation in a localized area on the body. It contains the active ingredient diclofenac, which belongs to the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While NSAIDs are typically consumed orally and are processed via the stomach, the Voltaren Gel is designed to penetrate into the skin, thereby transporting diclofenac directly to the site of pain.
As a general rule, Voltaren Gel is used to manage pain and inflammation in certain joints and soft tissues (e.g. pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, such as those that cause back pain). When it comes to managing joint pain, Voltaren Gel is most effective on joints that are near the surface of the skin. The gel may not be able to penetrate deep enough to impact joints that are buried under thick layers of muscle or soft tissue.
The diclofenac in Voltaren Gel works by inhibiting the action of a substance called cyclo-oxygenase (COX). COX typically produces prostaglandins, which are bodily chemicals that can exacerbate pain and inflammation. When the body produces less of these chemicals, pain and inflammation decrease.
People who are suffering from pain and/or inflammation in an accessible joint or soft tissues may be prescribed Voltaren Gel for temporary relief from their condition.
Conditions treated by Voltaren Gel (Emulgel)
Voltaren Gel helps relieve pain in accessible joints (meaning joints that are near the surface of the skin) as well as soft tissues including the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. As a result, Voltaren Emulgel may be used for temporary relief from several conditions, including:
- Mild arthritis
- Osteoarthritis of the knees, hands, ankles, wrists, or feet
- Shoulder, neck, or back pain
- Sports injuries such as tennis elbow, sprains, and strains
- Soft tissue rheumatism such as bursitis or tendinitis
What to know before taking Voltaren Gel (Emulgel)
Prior to using Voltaren Gel, make sure to familiarize yourself with the following information.
- Be sure to let your doctor or pharmacist know about any other health conditions or medications you may be taking.
- Tell your doctor if you have allergies to diclofenac, propylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol, or any of the other ingredients in Voltaren Emulgel. Also inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have ever had an asthma attack or allergic reaction as a result of taking NSAIDs.
- Prior to using Voltaren Emulgel, familiarize yourself with the usage instructions in the product information leaflet.
- Be aware that Voltaren Emulgel is intended for temporary pain relief and is not meant for long-term use. It may be used for up to two weeks, per your doctor's or pharmacist's recommendations.
- Take some precautions when applying Voltaren Gel. Unless you apply the gel directly to the hands, wear gloves for application and wash your hands afterward. After massaging the gel into the affected area, allow the area to dry for at least 10 minutes prior to covering it with clothing. Make sure not to apply the gel to broken, infected, or irritated skin, and avoid using the gel close to the eyes, mouth, or nose. Also avoid using the gel along with other skin care products, such as sunscreen or cosmetics. Do not take Voltaren Gel in tandem with other NSAIDs.
- After applying Voltaren Gel, be sure not to use an airtight wrap on or apply heat to the area. Doing so can result in your skin absorbing excess amounts of the active ingredient, which can increase the risk of adverse side effects.
- Be aware that using the gel across large areas of the body may increase the risk of experiencing negative side effects.
- Voltaren Emulgel is non-greasy and does not have a strong odor.
Possible Voltaren Gel (Emulgel) side effects
Some possible Voltaren side effects include:
- (such as redness, itching, or blistering) at the site of application
- Heightened skin sensitivity to sunlight
- (for this reason, it's important to avoid excessive sun exposure while using this medication)
- Signs of bleeding in the stomach or intestines
- (e.g. stomach pain, vomiting blood, or passing black, tarry stools)Allergic reactions marked by hives, trouble breathing, and/or swelling of the face or throat
- Skin rash
- Headaches, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Asthmatic reactions
- Blurred or otherwise compromised vision
As with all other NSAIDs, Voltaren Gel may also increase the risk of cardiovascular issues including heart attack and stroke. These risks increase among people who use NSAIDs for extended periods of time and/or at very high dosages.If you experience these or other side effects, promptly consult a medical professional.