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More Info on Diclofenac Gel Indications

Diclofenac Gel for Actinic Keratosis

Diclofenac 3 percent gel (Solaraze) is approved for treating actinic keratosis. Actinic keratosis lesions are scaly bumps or patches on the surface of the skin due to sun damage. They range in size and color. Although actinic keratosis may be unsightly, the more serious concern is that some actinic keratosis lesions may progress to a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.
Treatment for AK may include:
  • Freezing (cryosurgery)
  • Laser surgery
  • Medications.
Unlike most other actinic keratosis medications, Solaraze is generally not overly harsh to the skin.

How Does Diclofenac Gel Work?

Diclofenac gel belongs to a group of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Like other NSAIDs, it works for arthritis by blocking a specific enzyme known as cyclooxygenase (COX), blocking the production of various inflammatory substances in the body. However, because it works mostly where it is applied (only 6 to 10 percent of the medication actually reaches the rest of the body), diclofenac gel helps to lower the exposure to the rest of the body (which may decrease the risk of dangerous side effects).
It is not entirely clear how diclofenac gel works to treat actinic keratosis lesions, although it is thought that by inhibiting the COX enzymes, it may encourage death of the precancerous cells.

Can It Be Used in Children?

Diclofenac gel is not approved for use in children. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using diclofenac gel in children.

Off-Label Uses of Diclofenac Gel

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend diclofenac gel for something other than the uses discussed in this article (this would be known as an "off-label" use). At this time, possible off-label uses of diclofenac gel include:
  • Treating osteoarthritis of other areas of the body (other than the knees, ankles, feet, elbows, wrists, or hands)
  • Treating other types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Treating actinic cheilitis (a precancerous condition of the lip)
  • Treating actinic keratosis when combined with cryotherapy.
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