Diclofenac gel for actinic keratoses

Author: Anoma Ranaweera, Medical Writer, Auckland, New Zealand; Chief Editor: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, July 2015.

Topical 3% diclofenac gel in 2.5% hyaluronic acid (Solaraze®, Bioglan Pharma, Florida USA) is used as a field treatment for actinic keratoses (AKs). It is available in the US, Canada and several countries in the European Union, but it is not marketed in New Zealand (2015).

How does diclofenac gel work?

The active ingredient of the gel, diclofenac sodium, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs provide anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic (anti-cancer) benefits.

How is diclofenac gel administered?

Treatment is usually undertaken during the winter months. Diclofenac gel is only for use on the skin and contact with eyes should be avoided.

After treatment

Keratoses may continue to improve for up to 30 days after stopping treatment. Any lesions that do not respond to treatment should be re-evaluated.

Precautions when using diclofenac gel for actinic keratoses

Diclofenac sodium gel should not be used or should be used with caution by patients with any of the following conditions:

Anaphylactoid reactions may occur in patients without prior exposure to diclofenac.

Potential drug interactions with diclofenac gel

What adverse events can diclofenac gel cause?

Generally, adverse events have been mild-to-moderate in severity. The most common reported adverse events (>1%) are application site reactions, including itch, dry skin, redness and contact dermatitis

Use in pregnancy

Use in nursing mother

Paediatric use

New Zealand approved datasheets are the official source of information for these prescription medicines, including approved uses and risk information. Check the individual New Zealand datasheet on the Medsafe website.

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