A shirtless man holding his lower back in pain

How does Voltaren work?

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Learn how Voltaren works to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

What is Voltaren?

The Voltaren range of products, available over-the-counter, contain diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Diclofenac works to inhibit the production of prostaglandins, substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation. By reducing their effects, diclofenac helps to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Types of Voltaren

Voltaren is available in gels, tablets and liquid capsules. Here we explain how each works.

Application of Voltaren to the skin

Voltaren gel

Voltaren gels are topical treatments, which means that you apply them to the skin over the affected area. They work by pooling diclofenac on the surface of the skin; the drug then penetrates the underlying tissues to the inflamed area (e.g. in the muscle) to relieve pain and decrease swelling. There are two formulations of Voltaren that can be applied to the skin, each of which offers its own range of benefits.

  • Voltaren Emulgel contains 1.16% of diclofenac diethylammonium in a gel form. It is suitable for 3-4 applications a day for short-term pain relief, or for longer periods up to 2 weeks. It is proven to reduce acute pain within one hour of application.
  • Voltaren Osteo Gel 12 Hourly contains double the concentration of diclofenac diethylammonium, 2.32%. This means it only needs to be applied twice a day (for up to 3 weeks, if necessary) to offer relief from pain and inflammation in localised osteoarthritis for up to 12 hours.
A man and women stretching their backs in the garden

Oral forms of Voltaren

Voltaren Rapid tablets and Voltaren Rapid liquid capsules

Voltaren Rapid is available in two strengths. Voltaren Rapid 12.5 tablets and liquid capsules contain 12.5 mg diclofenac potassium, and provide rapid relief from pain. Voltaren Rapid 25 tablets contain 25 mg of diclofenac potassium, for relief from stronger pain and inflammation.

Explore our range

Find out how our products can help

Discover the Voltaren product range to find a suitable product to relieve your pain

Voltaren Osteo Gel 12 Hourly for mild osteoarthritis pain

Packshot Voltaren Osteo Gel 12 Hourly

Voltaren Osteo Gel 12 hourly provides up to 12 hours relief from mild osteoarthritis pain of the knees and fingers, with an easy-open cap

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Voltaren Rapid 25 Tablets

Packshot of Voltaren Rapid tablets

Voltaren Rapid 25 Tablets provides dual benefit in treating inflammation and relieves strong back pain

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Health, wellness & your pain

Pain is rarely just physical nor is it always solved by taking medicine alone. Voltaren is your ally in helping you take more control of your pain journey, from the way to sleep, to what you eat, mental wellbeing and complementary pain relief therapies.