Pennsaid vs Voltaren – Uses, Side Effects, Differences


It is the trade name of a drug called diclofenac which belongs to the class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

It works by blocking the action of a substance in the human body called COX (cyclo-oxygenase ). COX is involved in the production of prostaglandins that are produced by the human body in response to injury and certain diseases.


It is an NSAID used to treat pain and other symptoms of arthritis of the joints (osteoarthritis), like – stiffness, swelling, inflammation, and joint pain. Furthermore, this drug is used to treat actinic keratoses, a crusty or scaly bump that forms on the skin surface and develops from years of exposure to the sun.

Note – it will help you only as long as you continue to use it, but it does not cure osteoarthritis.


For the relief of the pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee, the usual recommended dose is 40 mg on each painful knee, two times per day.

Wash your hands with water and soap before and after applying this medication. Wait until the treated area is dry before applying insect repellant, sunscreen, moisturizer, lotion,  cosmetics to the same knee you have just treated with this drug.

Furthermore, after you apply this topical gel, wait at least 1 hour before you shower or bathe and at least 15 minutes before dressing. Do not apply this drug to areas with open wounds, broken skin, severely peeling skin or infection. Also, do not touch your eyes until after you have properly washed your hands.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Diclofenac

Common side effects may include:

  • numbness at the application site;
  • swelling, redness, itching, and irritation at the site of application;
  • dizziness;
  • acne;
  • tingling in the arms and feet;
  • gas;
  • constipation;
  • stomach pain.

Rare side effects may include:

  • difficulty breathing;
  • hives;
  • worsening of asthma;
  • nausea;
  • itching;
  • loss of appetite;
  • flu-like symptoms;
  • swelling of the throat, face, hands, arms, ankles, feet, or lower legs;
  • lack of energy;
  • unexplained weight gain;
  • dark-colored urine;
  • wheezing;
  • blisters on the skin;
  • excessive tiredness;
  • fast heartbeat;
  • pale skin;
  • fever;
  • rash;
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach;
  • unusual bleeding,
  • extreme tiredness;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Due to possible harm to the unborn baby, this medication is not recommended for use during the last 3 months of pregnancy. More importantly, it should be used only when prescribed by your healthcare professional during the first 6 months of pregnancy.


It is the trade name of a drug called diclofenac which belongs to the class of drugs known as NSAIDs.


This drug is typically used to:

  • reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation of different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis;
  • relieve pain in kids after they have had a medical procedure;
  • reduce menstrual cramps pain;
  • reduce pain caused by other conditions where swelling is a problem, including – rheumatism, back pain, muscle sprains, strains, and tendonitis.


For the relief of ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine), the usual recommended dose is 100 to 125 mg per day (25 mg four times per day), with a 25-mg dose at bedtime, only if required.

For the relief of rheumatoid arthritis, the usual recommended dose is 150 to 200 mg per day in divided doses – 75 mg two times per day or 50 mg three times per day.

For the relief of osteoarthritis, the usual recommended dose is 100 to 150 mg per day in divided doses – 75 mg two times per day or 50 mg three times per day.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • belching;
  • stomach burning, bloating, pain, and cramping;
  • constipation;
  • bloody stools;
  • headaches;
  • cloudy urine;
  • itching skin;
  • a decrease in urine output;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • diarrhea;
  • loss of appetite;
  • dizziness;
  • pale skin;
  • a feeling of indigestion;
  • unusual bruising;
  • increased bleeding time;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • vomiting of material which looks like coffee grounds;
  • unusual weakness;
  • problems breathing with exertion;
  • pain in the chest below the breastbone.

Rare side effects may include:

  • confusion;
  • agitation;
  • hives;
  • blurred vision;
  • muscle twitching;
  • change in consciousness;
  • nervousness;
  • change in the capacity to see some colors;
  • rapid weight gain;
  • depression;
  • sleepiness;
  • troubled breathing;
  • seizures;
  • hostility;
  • swelling of the ankles, face, or hands;
  • fast heartbeat;
  • shallow breathing;
  • tightness in the chest;
  • irritability;
  • trouble sleeping;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • a feeling of sluggishness;
  • swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes;
  • blue lips or fingernails;
  • pain or discomfort in the chest.

If you have a history of allergic reaction to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin, do not use this medication.

Pennsaid vs Voltaren – Which Is Better For Osteoarthritis Knee Pain?

Pennsaid is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that works by blocking prostaglandins, natural substances in the human body which are involved in causing pain and inflammation. It is used to relieve osteoarthritis pain in the knees. This drug may not be effective in treating arthritis pain elsewhere in the human body.

Voltaren is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is used to relieve pain caused by arthritis on the wrists, hands, knees, elbows, feet, or ankles.

In conclusion, both these topical NSAIDs contain the same main active compound – diclofenac, but Pennsaid is specialized for relieving osteoarthritis knee pain. Also, topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain from sprains, strains, and overuse injuries, but with considerably fewer side effects than oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to a 2015 Cochrane review of 61 studies.

7 Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis

#1 Ginger

Consuming this spice regularly may decrease the risk for osteoarthritis-related disability, according to a 2015 study published in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

#2 Epsom Salt Bath

Magnesium sulfate, the scientific name for Epsom salt, can provide all-over relief, particularly for joint pain.

#3 Turmeric

This yellow spice common in Indian dishes contains a chemical called curcumin which may help to reduce arthritis pain due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

#4 Physical Exercise

According to research, moderate physical exercise is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.

#5 Lose Unnecessary Weight

Some people will see their osteoarthritis symptoms disappear if they lose 10 to 20 pounds, according to studies.

#6 Tai Chi

It is a traditional Chinese form of exercise that can help your coordination, and make your joint more stable, plus, it can strengthen your muscles.

#7 Omega 3 Rich Foods

They are effective at lowering inflammation and also have other health benefits. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids include – flax seeds, chia seeds, red kidney beans, walnuts, pecans, almonds, broccoli, and navy beans.

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty

READ THIS NEXT: Fibromyalgia vs Lupus


Leave a Comment