Generic name: Diclofenac sodium, MisoprostolBrand names: Arthrotec
Arthrotec is designed to relieve the symptoms of arthritis in people who are also prone to ulcers. It contains diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for control of the inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. However, since NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers in susceptible people, Arthrotec also contains misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin that serves to reduce the production of stomach acid, protect the stomach lining, and thus prevent ulcers.
Be certain to avoid taking Arthrotec during pregnancy. It can cause a miscarriage with potentially dangerous bleeding, sometimes leading to hospitalization, surgery, infertility, and even death. Arthrotec can also deform or kill the developing baby. If you haven't passed menopause, your doctor should do a pregnancy test less than 2 weeks before your therapy begins. Once you've started taking the drug, it is vitally important that you also use reliable contraceptive measures. If you do become pregnant, stop taking Arthrotec and contact your doctor immediately.
To minimize diarrhea and related side effects, take Arthrotec with meals, exactly as prescribed. Antacids containing magnesium can make Arthrotec-induced diarrhea worse. If you need an antacid, use one containing aluminum or calcium instead. Arthrotec tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed, crushed, or dissolved.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Arthrotec.
Remember that it is essential to avoid Arthrotec during pregnancy. You should also avoid Arthrotec if you've ever had an allergic reaction to either of its components (diclofenac and misoprostol). Avoid it, too, if you've had a reaction to any other prostaglandin medication, or to any NSAID, including aspirin. Make sure the doctor is aware of any drug reactions you've experienced.
Although Arthrotec is designed to protect against stomach ulcers and bleeding, they remain a possibility. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice signs of bleeding such as black tarry stools. Also call the doctor if you develop severe diarrhea, cramping, or nausea, or if milder symptoms persist for more than 7 days.
This drug should be used with caution if you have kidney problems or liver disease. Your doctor will do a blood test to monitor your liver within 4 to 8 weeks after starting Arthrotec therapy and periodically thereafter. If you develop signs of a liver problem, such as nausea, fatigue, tiredness, itching, yellowed eyes and skin, tenderness in the upper right area of your stomach, or flu-like symptoms, stop taking Arthrotec and notify your doctor at once.
Use Arthrotec cautiously if you have systemic lupus or a similar connective tissue disease. Certain rare side effects are more likely to occur. Be cautious, too, if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Arthrotec can increase water retention. Also exercise caution if you have asthma. In some people, Arthrotec could trigger an attack.
Do not take Arthrotec if you're dehydrated (a possibility after severe vomiting or diarrhea). You should also avoid Arthrotec if you have a condition known as porphyria.
Arthrotec is not an ordinary pain reliever. It is a potent medication, and poses extreme danger during pregnancy. Never share it with anyone else.
If Arthrotec is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Arthrotec with the following:AspirinBlood pressure medications such as diltiazem hydrochloride, enalapril maleate, nifedipine, and propranolol hydrochlorideCyclosporineDigoxinDiureticsGlipizideGlyburideInsulinLithiumMagnesium-containing antacidsMethotrexatePhenobarbitalPrednisoloneWarfarin
Arthrotec must be strictly avoided during pregnancy. If you are in your child-bearing years, your doctor will have you take your first dose on the second or third day of your menstrual period to be sure you're not pregnant. Use reliable contraception for the duration of your treatment.
Because Arthrotec appears in breast milk, your doctor may have you stop breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.
The recommended dose is 50 milligrams 3 times daily.
The recommended dose is 50 milligrams 3 or 4 times daily.
If you can not tolerate the recommended dosage, your doctor can prescribe a dose of 50 or 75 milligrams twice daily. However, such lower dosages are less effective at preventing ulcers.
Your doctor may prescribe misoprostol in addition to Arthrotec for better ulcer protection.
The safety and effectiveness of Arthrotec have not been established in children below the age of 18.
If you suspect an overdose of Arthrotec, seek medical attention immediately.