NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Oral Diclofenac: prescription only medicine from 15th January 2015

Tablets containing diclofenac will be available only as a Prescription Only Medicine (POM) from 15th January 2015. Topical formulations (gels, creams) containing diclofenac will continue to be available without a prescription. Full details of the change are available here.

In 2013, a Europe-wide review concluded that systemic diclofenac is associated with a small increased risk of arterial thromboembolic events. Product information for all systemic formulations of diclofenac was amended, adding a new cardiovascular contraindication and strengthening the warnings and precautions section. The UK Commission on Human Medicines has now concluded that diclofenac is no longer suitable for supply without prescription.


Advice for healthcare professionals

  • Diclofenac tablets must not be sold without prescription from 15th January 2015.
  • Remaining stock labeled for non-prescription use is being recalled from community pharmacy.
  • The 2013 advice should be taken into consideration before prescribing diclofenac.
  • There is no requirement for patients to return these products if already purchased.  Pharmacists should consider other treatment options for the OTC management of pain. Other oral NSAIDs and topical products containing diclofenac remain available without prescription.


 Advice to give to patients

  • There is no requirement to return oral diclofenac products which have already been purchased without a prescription
  • Your pharmacist can advise on suitable over the counter alternatives for pain relief.
  • This recall applies only to non-prescription oral diclofenac products; products applied to the skin (gels) are not included.
  • If you have been prescribed diclofenac, there is no need to stop taking it. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist at your next routine visit if you have any heart problems or other concerns about the treatment.