Drug Warnings & Adverse Side Effects

Cataflam®
diclofenac potassium
A Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug; NSAID
as Reported by Physician's Desk Reference® (1)

WARNINGS

Gastrointestinal (GI) Effects - Risk of GI Ulceration, Bleeding, and Perforation:

Serious gastrointestinal toxicity such as inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach, small intestine or large intestine, can occur at any time, with or without warning symptoms, in patients treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Minor upper gastrointestinal problems, such as dyspepsia, are common and may also occur at any time during NSAID therapy. Therefore, physicians and patients should remain alert for ulceration and bleeding even in the absence of previous GI tract symptoms. Patients should be informed about the signs and/or symptoms of serious GI toxicity and the steps to take if they occur. The utility of periodic laboratory monitoring has not been demonstrated, nor has it been adequately assessed. Only one in five patients, who develop a serious upper GI adverse event on NSAID therapy, is symptomatic. It has been demonstrated that upper GI ulcers, gross bleeding or perforation, caused by NSAIDs, appear to occur in approximately 1% of patients treated for 3-6 months, and in about 2%-4% of patients treated for one year. These trends continue thus, increasing the likelihood of developing a serious GI event at some time during the course of therapy. However, even short term therapy is not without risk.

Information for Patients

Cataflam, like other drugs of its class, can cause discomfort and, rarely, more serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, which may result in hospitalization and even fatal outcomes. Although serious GI tract ulcerations and bleeding can occur without warning symptoms, patients should be alert for the signs and symptoms of ulcerations and bleeding, and should ask for medical advice when observing any indicative sign or symptoms. Patients should be apprised of the importance of this follow-up.

Patients should report to their physicians signs or symptoms of gastrointestinal ulceration or bleeding, skin rash, weight gain, or edema.

Patients should be informed of the warning signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity (e.g., nausea, fatigue, lethargy, pruritus, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, and "flu-like" symptoms). If these occur, patients should be instructed to stop therapy and seek immediate medical therapy.

Patients should also be instructed to seek immediate emergency help in the case of an anaphylactoid reaction.

In late pregnancy, as with other NSAIDs, Cataflam should be avoided because it will cause premature closure of the ductus arteriosus.

Laboratory Tests

Patients on long-term treatment with NSAIDs, should have their CBC and a chemistry profile (including transaminases) checked periodically. If clinical signs and symptoms consistent with liver or renal disease develop, systemic manifestations occur (e.g., eosinophilia, rash, etc.) or if abnormal liver tests persist or worsen, Cataflam should be discontinued.

Drug Interactions

Aspirin: When Cataflam is administered with aspirin, its protein binding is reduced. The clinical significance of this interaction is not known; however, as with other NSAIDs, concomitant administration of diclofenac and aspirin is not generally recommended because of the potential of increased adverse effects.

Methotrexate: NSAIDs have been reported to competitively inhibit methotrexate accumulation in rabbit kidney slices. This may indicate that they could enhance the toxicity of methotrexate. Caution should be used when NSAIDs are administered concomitantly with methotrexate.

Cyclosporine: Cataflam, like other NSAIDs, may affect renal prostaglandins and increase the toxicity of certain drugs. Therefore, concomitant therapy with Cataflam may increase cyclosporine's nephrotoxicity. Caution should be used when Cataflam is administered concomitantly with cyclosporine.

ACE-inhibitors: Reports suggest that NSAIDs may diminish the antihypertensive effect of ACE-inhibitors. This interaction should be given consideration in patients taking NSAIDs concomitantly with ACE-inhibitors.

Furosemide: Clinical studies, as well as post-marketing observations, have shown that Cataflam can reduce the natriuretic effect of furosemide and thiazides in some patients. This response has been attributed to inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis. During concomitant therapy with NSAIDs, the patient should be observed closely for signs of renal failure (see PRECAUTIONS - Renal Effects ), as well as to assure diuretic efficacy.

Lithium: NSAIDs have produced an elevation of plasma lithium levels and a reduction in renal lithium clearance. The mean minimum lithium concentration increased 15% and the renal clearance was decreased by approximately 20%. These effects have been attributed to inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis by the NSAID. Thus, when NSAIDs and lithium are administered concurrently, subjects should be observed carefully for signs of lithium toxicity.

Warfarin: The effects of warfarin and NSAIDs on GI bleeding are synergistic, such that users of both drugs together have a risk of serious GI bleeding higher than users of either drug alone.

Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects: Pregnancy Category C. Reproductive studies conducted in rats and rabbits have not demonstrated evidence of developmental abnormalities. However, animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.

Nonteratogenic Effects: Because of the known effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on the fetal cardiovascular system (closure of ductus arteriosus), use during pregnancy (particularly late pregnancy) should be avoided.

Labor and Delivery
In rat studies with NSAIDs, as with other drugs known to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, an increased incidence of dystocia, delayed parturition, and decreased pup survival occurred. The effects of Cataflam on labor and delivery in pregnant women are unknown.

Nursing Mothers
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Cataflam, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use
As with any NSAIDs, caution should be exercised in treating the elderly (65 years and older).

ADVERSE REACTIONS

In 718 patients treated for shorter periods, i.e., 2 weeks or less, with Cataflam ® (diclofenac potassium immediate-release tablets), adverse reactions were reported one-half to one-tenth as frequently as by patients treated for longer periods. In a 6-month, double-blind trial comparing Cataflam (N=196) versus Voltaren ® (diclofenac sodium delayed-release tablets) (N=197) versus ibuprofen (N=197), adverse reactions were similar in nature and frequency.

In patients taking Cataflam or other NSAIDs, the most frequently reported adverse experiences occurring in approximately 1%-10% of patients are:

Gastrointestinal experiences including: abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, gross bleeding/perforation, heartburn, nausea, GI ulcers (gastric/duodenal) and vomiting.

Abnormal renal function, anemia, dizziness, edema, elevated liver enzymes, headaches, increased bleeding time, pruritus, rashes and tinnitus.

Additional adverse experiences reported occasionally include:

Body as a Whole: fever, infection, sepsis

Cardiovascular System: congestive heart failure, hypertension, tachycardia, syncope

Digestive System: dry mouth, esophagitis, gastric/peptic ulcers, gastritis, gastrointestinal bleeding, glossitis, hematemesis, hepatitis, jaundice

Hemic and Lymphatic System: ecchymosis, eosinophilia, leukopenia, melena, purpura, rectal bleeding, stomatitis, thrombocytopenia

Metabolic and Nutritional: weight changes

Nervous System: anxiety, asthenia, confusion, depression, dream abnormalities, drowsiness, insomnia, malaise, nervousness, paresthesia, somnolence, tremors, vertigo

Respiratory System: asthma, dyspnea

Skin and Appendages: alopecia, photosensitivity, sweating increased

Special Senses: blurred vision

Urogenital System: cystitis, dysuria, hematuria, interstitial nephritis, oliguria/polyuria, proteinuria, renal failure

Other adverse reactions, which occur rarely are:

Body as a Whole: anaphylactic reactions, appetite changes, death

Cardiovascular System: arrhythmia, hypotension, myocardial infarction, palpitations, vasculitis

Digestive System: colitis, eructation, liver failure, pancreatitis

Hemic and Lymphatic System: agranulocytosis, hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, lymphadenopathy, pancytopenia

Metabolic and Nutritional: hyperglycemia

Nervous System: convulsions, coma, hallucinations, meningitis

Respiratory System: respiratory depression, pneumonia

Skin and Appendages: angioedema, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, urticaria

Special Senses: conjunctivitis, hearing impairment.

Be Aware:
All traditional NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers or internal bleeding without warning. Consultation with your doctor and regular check ups are important when taking NSAIDs.
(1) Physician's Desk Reference® 58th Edition, Thompson PDR, 2004.
(2) 2003 Drug Guide, Supplement to Arthritis Today, Arthritis Foundation, 2003.

© 2004 Research Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved. Legal notices. Statements and excerpts from research literature are provided solely as a forum for commentary and specifically not for health or medical advice. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your physician.