My newest NSAID is worthless.  Just thought I’d be up front about that so there’s no confusion where I stand on this subject.

The podiatrist prescribed Flector Patches and provided a sample.  I am not impressed.

Flector is diclofenac on an adhesive patch.  The backing peels off so that the patch can be applied directly to the skin.  Simple enough theory, and maybe it stays in place on other body parts, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t work on the soles of the foot.  Patches on feet will slide all over the place until they scrunch up in an uncomfortable wad.  Although the sticky stuff that’s supposed to hold the patches in place doesn’t stick to skin, after the patch has slid around all cattywampus, it does an awesome job of sticking to socks.

I suppose it’s possible to try taping the things in place, but what’s the point of an adhesive patch that doesn’t adhere?

Then there’s the task of getting at the patch in the first place.  Although some might think it a good idea, my readers with RA will immediately understand the drawback.  What marketing genius decided to make this stuff impossible to access by putting it in a ziplock package?!

One can’t help but be impressed at the persistence of putting diclofenac out there so many different ways.  As Arthrotec, the pill has a stomach-protectant added (for those who can’t manage to take prilosec to prevent the stomach upset that can accompany NSAIDs). As Cambia, it’s added to water and drunk in solution.  As Voltaren, diclofenac comes in tablets taken similar to ibuprofen, mobic, or the hundred other NSAID pills.  Voltaren pills also come in an extended-release formulation (so that the drug company can charge extra money for the same drug, even though they’re manufacturing fewer pills). Voltaren Ophthalmic is available for the eyes, and there’s even Voltaren Gel for topical application.   Pennsaid is another topical form of diclofenac, as is Solaraze Gel.  This medicine really gets around.

Although the diclofenac pills are reasonably priced, that can’t be said of the topical forms of this drug.  Of the different types of diclofenac I’ve been prescribed (voltaren gel, solaraze gel, and flector patches), none are on my insurance formulary.  Yep – tier three.  These things are expensive.  Flector comes with thirty patches in a box, and I’m supposed to use four patches a day.  That 30-patch box doesn’t last a month; it lasts a week.  That comes to $280 a month for annoying things that slide around on my feet, ruin my socks, and don’t do anything to relieve the pain.

Not happening.  I’ll go back to the Solaraze Gel.  It does help, and the $70 tube lasts three months (more or less, depending on how many joints I use it on).

This is my personal opinion.  If you have questions about your own medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


Thank you for all the nice notes.
First computer virus I’ve gotten since 1991.  Hopefully it’s the last.


9 thoughts on “Diclofenac

  1. I used these patches on sore ribs and they did help some but I too found them difficult to keep on – needed to tape them. Can’t imagine being able to keep these on your feet! I use the gel and again it helps but you have to use it over a period of time – have not tried the Solaraze but if it’s less expensive and more effective than the voltaren, could be worth a shot. Hope you get some relief for your feet!

    • Cash price on Solaraze is 10 times more than Voltaren Gel. My co-pay is the same, though, so I look at other factors. Voltaren is 1% and used four times a day; Solaraze is 3% and only used twice a day. Solaraze is odorless; Voltaren stinks. I like the Solaraze better. And I agree, it takes a while for the topical gel to kick and and be effective.

  2. My doctor gave me samples of the pennsaid. I thought it might be helping a little but the price, even with insurance, was way out of wack and it was just not worth it for me. I have taken generic oral voltaren for years. It has worked better for me than some of the newer NSAIDS.

    • I suspected the pennsaid would be expensive, too. While it’s nice to have a topical option for people whose stomachs can’t handle NSAIDs, the price is just too high. I hope you were able to find an affordable option.

  3. Pleased to have you back with us, Socks. As for the diclofenac–Wow! I had no idea it was available (for a stiff price) in so many forms. What a shame the patches are so worthless used on feet, though. Sounds like in your case, the gel will get the job done with a lot less aggravation.

    On a similar note, regarding drugs and prices: I was glad to see that Allegra is finally available OTC, as it works wonderfully for my seasonal allergies but absolutely wasn’t covered by my insurance. More lately, it wasn’t available on the VA’s formulary, either. I’ve settled for Claritin, which is second best in my case. Anyway, I ran out to pick up some OTC Allegra yesterday, and was stunned to discover that 45 tablets cost $30. Ouch! I bought the generic version (fortunately, the pharmacy had an alternative) for $10 less, but still left shaking my head at the high prices for effective medications.

  4. Honestly, the dirty little secret about NSAIDS? They’re all the freakin’ same. Seriously. That OTC Advil you pop is just as good as Naproxen, or Voltaren, or whatever.

    The only one that’s at all different is ketorolac, because you can inject it.

    • It doesn’t surprise me that they’re pretty much the same. For some reason, though, sometimes one works better than another for some people. My daughter does much better on mobic than on voltaren. Go figure.

      I much prefered the prescription ibuprofen to otc when that was my NSAID. Not that it worked any better, but because it was easier (three pills a day vs twelve pills a day) and less expensive.

  5. Pingback: Compliance Follow-Up « ∞ itis

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