The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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A Diclofenac Patch (Flector) for Pain

Diclofenac epolamine patch 1.3% (Flector Patch – Alpharma), a topical formulation of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac, has been approved by the FDA for topical treatment of acute pain due to minor strains, sprains and contusions. It is the first topical NSAID patch approved in the US. A diclofenac patch has been used in Europe since 1993. Diclofenac sodium (Voltaren, and others) is available in the US as an oral tablet, in a 1% gel for treatment of osteoarthritis (to be reviewed in a future issue), in a 3% gel (Solaraze) for treatment of actinic keratoses, and in an ophthalmic formulation.

MECHANISM OF ACTION — Local inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis at the site of injury is thought to produce the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of NSAIDs. However, in a study using an experimental model of inflammatory pain, oral diclofenac was more effective than a ... more      

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