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Diclofenac Gel: A Pain Relief Option for Arthritis & Joint Pain

If you have arthritis you may be able to use a topical treatment for pain relief – such as a diclofenac sodium topical gel, cream or liquid. You can rub diclofenac gel or cream into the skin around your problem areas to relieve joint pain as an alternative to taking oral medication.

Topical formulations of diclofenac treatments for arthritis were first approved in the US in 2007 and since then have become available in several different strengths and forms for various purposes. Until 2020 it was available only by prescription, but can now be purchased over the counter1. Find out more below.

What Is Diclofenac and How Does It Work in Gel and Cream?

Diclofenac is a nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)1. It’s commonly used in topical creams and gels to relieve pain in your joints. Depending on the brand of diclofenac sodium topical gel you need, it’s available either by prescription or over the counter at your local retailer.

How does diclofenac gel work?

When you apply diclofenac cream or gel to a problem area, the drug penetrates your skin and enters your joint, reducing pain signals2. The level of diclofenac entering your bloodstream is lower than if you take an oral NSAID.

What Is Over-the-Counter Diclofenac Sodium Gel Used For?

Diclofenac gel is typically used to relieve aches and pains caused by arthritis in your hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles and knees. Depending on the severity and type of pain you experience and subject to discussions you have with your doctor, you can use either a prescription-only form of topical pain relief cream or an over-the-counter product like MOTRIN® Arthritis Pain.

Whether you use an over-the-counter or prescription product, you’ll be able to treat your Arthritis aches and pains at home. If you find an over-the-counter product doesn’t ease your symptoms, speak to your doctor.

How to Use and Apply Diclofenac Gel?

To use diclofenac gels or creams, you simply need to apply them directly to your skin over the joint that’s causing you pain. You should also make sure you:

  • Clean and dry your skin before application

  • Avoid broken or infected skin

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after application

You can apply diclofenac gel for arthritis to several places on your body including, hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles and knees. Be sure to always read and follow the product label and not use diclofenac gel on more than two body areas at a time.

Learn more about MOTRIN® Arthritis Pain

MOTRIN® Arthritis Pain is a topical gel with 1% Diclofenac Sodium that is specifically designed to target aches and pains caused by arthritis in your hands, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles and feet. It’s available over the counter without a prescription, making it a great option for arthritis pain relief you can use at home to manage your condition.

You can apply the gel directly to your skin on your hand, wrist, elbow, foot, ankle, or knee to help relieve your arthritis pain symptoms and make your movements more comfortable.

How long can I use MOTRIN® Arthritis Pain Gel?

Use MOTRIN® Arthritis Pain Gel 4 times a day every day for up to 21 days for treatment of arthritis pain or as directed by your doctor.

MOTRIN® Arthritis Pain Gel can be considered as a potential part of an overall program for managing your arthritis pain. The program can also include activities such as appropriate movement or exercise, specific lifestyle changes, and weight maintenance. Regular visits and discussions with your doctor can help incorporate Motrin® Arthritis Pain Gel into a complete program to help manage your arthritis pain. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting or changing any exercise program or if you have any questions or concerns about any treatment options, including MOTRIN® Arthritis Pain Gel.

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