Diclofenac Sodium

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deye-KLO-fen-ac SO-de-um - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Surpass Topical Cream


Rx symbolDiclofenac sodium uses a new technology called liposome delivery as a means of carrying the drug past the skin to the targeted tissue. This locally-enhanced topical delivery not only maximizes the penetration of the drug, but also sustains the drug's release in the target tissue.

This topical, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory cream is used to treat pain and inflammation by inhibiting the body's production of prostaglandin and other mediators of the body's inflammatory response.

Diclofenac sodium is also used as an ophthalmic treatment when corticosteroids are contraindicated.


With the new locally-enhanced topical delivery, diclofenac sodium is used to treat inflammation associated with osteoarthritis in the hock, knee, fetlock, and pastern joints of the horse. It also decreases soft tissue swelling in the lower leg.

As an ophthalmic, diclofenac sodium is used in the treatment of anterior uveitis, equine recurrent uveitis, traumatic and non-ulcerative keratitis, and keratouveitis. It also inhibits meiosis.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationCyproheptadine
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Ophthalmic solution 1 drop 0.1%   Up to 10 days
Topical 5 inch (12.7 cm) inch ribbon 1% Twice daily Up to 10 days


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Extra-label use of drugs in treating animals is allowable only by licensed veterinarians within the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, and does not include drug use in treating animals by the layman (except under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian).
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any medication.

Side Effects

When used according to directions, side effects seldom occur. Some horses may develop skin problems if the cream and environmental dirt is allowed to build up over the treated area. This problem can be avoided by regular washing with mild shampoo.

In general, NSAIDs should be carefully monitored when used in horses with liver or kidney disease or with horses that have gastrointestinal problems.


This drug is not a hand cream and gloves should be worn during application. Package directions and veterinarian instructions pertaining to the amount applied should be followed carefully.

Young foals with health problems require careful monitoring. Use of drugs to protect the GI tract such as omeprazole, cimetidine, and sucralfate are often recommended for use with NSAIDs when treating foals.

Lower doses are often recommended for ponies and older horses, especially those with decreased kidney or liver function.

Diclofenac sodium is a prescription drug and is restricted by U.S. federal law to be used by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian.

Diclofenac sodium is a regulated or prohibited substance in most sanctioned competitions. It is important to check with the individual regulatory group regarding rules and regulations.


Avoid combining with other anti-inflammatory drugs that tend to cause ulcers, such as corticosteroids and other NSAIDs.


Overdoses of diclofenac sodium cause more severe side effects. Early signs of toxicity include loss of appetite, weight loss, colic, and depression.


Diclofenac Sodium Eye OintmentDiclofenac Sodium Eye Ointment

Diclofenac Sodium Topical Cream Diclofenac Sodium Topical Cream



About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.