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Classification: A

Drug products: Arthrotec forte, Arthrotec®, Arthrotec® forte, Diclofenac Bluefish, Diclofenac T ratiopharm, Dicuno, Diklofenak Mylan, Diklofenak Orifarm, Diklofenak Sandoz, Diklofenak T ABECE, Diklofenak T Apofri, Diklofenak T Orifarm, Diklofenak/Misoprostol Actavis, Eeze, Eezeneo, Ignorin, Modifenac, Voltaren, Voltaren Dispers, Voltaren T, Voltaren®, Voltaren® T

ATC code: M01AB05, M01AB55, M01BX

Substances: diclofenac, diclofenac diethylamine, diclofenac epolamine, diclofenac potassium, diclofenac sodium


Randomized controlled studies on differences between men and women in effect and pharmacokinetics of diclofenac are lacking.
A large retrospective study shows a higher risk of gastric bleedings in all NSAID-treated patients, with a higher risk elevation in men.
The risk of NSAID-induced liver affection was in a small case-control study larger in women, but a large cohort study did not find any differences in risk between men and women.
The present evidence concerning differences between men and women is limited and do not motivate differentiation in dosing or treatment.

Additional information

Pharmacokinetics and dosing

No studies with a clinically relevant sex analysis regarding the pharmacokinetics or dosing of diclofenac have been found.


No studies with a clinically relevant sex analysis regarding the effects of diclofenac have been found.

Adverse effects

A nested control study estimated the risk of upper gastrointestinal complications associated with selective cox 2-inhibitors and non-selective NSAIDs compared with non-use of NSAIDs. In all > 600 000 individuals contributed to >1 million person-years of observation and 726 upper gastrointestinal complications were identified. Male sex and high age carried a higher risk of complication and suggested a synergistic effect between these factors and NSAIDs on the risk of upper gastrointestinal complications. The risk for upper gastrointestinal complications differed between the various NSAIDs. Adjusted for male sex and age, the OR for diclofenac was 2.2 compared to 4.0 for naproxen, and 1.6 for ibuprofen [1].A retrospective cohort study (625 307 patients with 2 130 820 prescriptions, one third of these were to men) found that incidence rates of NSAID-induced acute liver injury were similar for men and women and for the young and the elderly [2]. However, a case-control study (136 men, 130 women) found an association between NSAID exposure and liver injury in women but not in men (OR 6.49 vs. 1.06). This may be due to differences in pharmacokinetics or circulating level hormones and/or greater use of multiple medications in women [3] or to a generally higher risk of drug-induced liver injury in women [4].A meta-analysis evaluated NSAID use and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Pooled risk ratio of Parkinson’s disease were similar in men and women using NSAID (men 0.79 (95%CI 0.69, 0.92); women 0.72 (95%CI 0.45, 1.15)) [5].

Reproductive health issues

Regarding teratogenic aspects, please consult Janusmed Drugs and Birth Defects (in Swedish, Janusmed fosterpåverkan).

Updated: 2020-08-28

Date of litterature search: 2014-10-14


  1. Castellsague J, Holick CN, Hoffman CC, Gimeno V, Stang MR, Perez-Gutthann S. Risk of upper gastrointestinal complications associated with cyclooxygenase-2 selective and nonselective nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Pharmacotherapy. 2009;29:1397-407. PubMed
  2. García Rodríguez LA, Williams R, Derby LE, Dean AD, Jick H. Acute liver injury associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the role of risk factors. Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:311-6. PubMed
  3. Lacroix I, Soussan C, Portolan G, Montastruc JL. Drug-induced adverse reactions via breastfeeding: a study in the French Pharmacovigilance Database. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2013;27 (Suppl. 1):42-3. Abstract 26-01.
  4. Leise MD, Poterucha JJ, Talwalkar JA. Drug-induced liver injury. Mayo Clin Proc. 2014;89:95-106. PubMed
  5. Samii A, Etminan M, Wiens MO, Jafari S. NSAID use and the risk of Parkinson's disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Drugs Aging. 2009;26:769-79. PubMed
  6. Läkemedelsstatistik. Stockholm: Socialstyrelsen. 2015 [cited 2016-04-05.] länk
  7. Conicse. Stockholm: eHälsomyndigheten. 2015 [cited 2016-03-23.] länk

Authors: Linnéa Karlsson Lind, Desirée Loikas

Reviewed by: Mia von Euler

Approved by: Karin Schenck-Gustafsson