Diclofenac: Notes for UPSC Exam

Diclofenac is an NSAID or Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug used to decrease inflammation and also as an analgesic (pain killer) in certain conditions. It is delivered as such or supplied in medications under different trade names.

Diclofenac is a featured topic in the General Science segment of the IAS Exam.

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What Is Diclofenac?

Diclofenac is a name derived from the drug’s chemical name which is 2-(2,6-dichloroaniline) phenylacetic acid. This medicine was synthesised for the first time by Rudolf Pfister and Alfred Sallman and sold as Voltaren by the pharmaceutical company Ciba-Geigy (now called Novartis) in 1973. In India, UK, USA and Brazil, the drug is supplied either as the potassium salt or as the sodium salt. It is mostly sold as a sodium salt in China. In some countries, just the potassium salt is supplied.

How is Diclofenac used medically?

It is also used commonly to treat mild to moderate post-operative or post-traumatic pain, in particular when inflammation is also present and is effective against menstrual pain and endometriosis.

Diclofenac also aids in easing pains caused by sprains, concussions etc.

Diclofenac is sold as eye drops to treat non-bacterial inflammation on the anterior part of the eyes. They are also used to handle the pain from corneal abrasion

Diclofenac is often used to treat chronic pain associated with cancer, especially if inflammation is present.

What are the side effects of Diclofenac?

Studies have shown that there is a link with Diclofenac and increased coronary risk.  Many gastrointestinal complications were found to be reported. Due to an increase in coronary risk MACE (Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events) were found to increase about by a third due to intake of diclofenac.

Compared with placebo, of 1000 patients allocated to diclofenac for a year, three more had major vascular events, one of which was fatal. Vascular death was increased significantly by diclofenac.

Relevant Questions for Diclofenac

Why is Diclofenac banned in India?

The government had prohibited the use of diclofenac for veterinary operations in 2006 after it was found that the once-thriving vulture population in the country was brought to near extinction after consuming the carcasses of animals that were illegally treated with human formulations of the drug. Along with this, an increased risk in cardiovascular disease was also considered. Thus the decision was made to ban the drug completely.

Diclofenac – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Why do doctors not prescribe Diclofenac?

The drug was withdrawn from the market due to safety and efficacy reasons.  They work by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. This also at times have to lead to hormonal imbalance at times.

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