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Voltaren vs Aspirin

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Comparative Analysis


For patients dealing with pain, inflammation or fever, certain drugs that inhibit the production of specific enzymes in the body known as prostaglandins can provide significant relief. Voltaren and Aspirin are two such drugs often prescribed for these issues. They each impact different aspects within your body's inflammatory response but both have analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects in patients. Voltaren (Diclofenac) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation. Aspirin, on the other hand, not only reduces these substances but also serves as a blood thinner preventing clot formation, hence it is widely used to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Voltaren vs Aspirin Side By Side

Brand NameVoltarenAspirin
ContraindicationsShould not be taken with blood thinners like warfarin. May worsen symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding.Should not be taken with blood thinners like warfarin. May worsen symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding.
CostFor the brand name, around $60 for 100 tablets of 50 mg. Generic versions range from roughly $20–$40 for ninety 75-mg tablets or thirty 50-mg tablets.For the brand name Bayer Aspirin, approximately $10 for a bottle of 200 tablets (325 mg each). Generic aspirin costs start as low as just over one cent per tablet ($2-$3 for a bottle).
Generic NameDiclofenacAcetylsalicylic Acid
Most Serious Side EffectSigns of a serious allergic reaction, severe skin reactions, hepatic dysfunction, kidney problems, hypertension or fluid retention, gastrointestinal issues.Signs of an allergic reaction, severe nausea, vomiting or stomach pain, bloody or tarry stools, hearing changes, confusion, hallucinations, severe headache.
Severe Drug InteractionsBlood thinners such as warfarin.Blood thinners such as warfarin.
Typical DoseOral dosages range from 100-150 mg/day, divided into several smaller doses.For heart health and stroke prevention, 81–325 mg/day. For pain relief or fever reduction, initial dose can be 500-1000 mg, followed by 500 mg every four to six hours as needed.

What is Voltaren?

Diclofenac (the generic name for Voltaren) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which represents significant progress from the first class of pain relief drugs, such as aspirin. Diclofenac was first approved by the FDA in 1988 and works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation. It's commonly prescribed for arthritis, migraines, and other types of acute pain. Unlike Aspirin, which also inhibits clotting proteins to prevent heart disease and stroke, Diclofenac has a more targeted effect on relieving inflammation with less impact on platelets or clotting factors. This results in it having fewer gastrointestinal side effects than NSAIDs like aspirin that have stronger effects on these areas.

What conditions is Voltaren approved to treat?

Voltaren is approved for the treatment of various forms of pain and inflammation:

  • Osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis that causes breakdown in joint cartilage
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease causing inflammation in the joints
  • Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis affecting the spine.

While Aspirin is indicated for:

  • The relief of minor to moderate pain such as headache, toothache or period pains
  • Reducing fever
  • Preventing blood clots (at low doses).

How does Voltaren help with these illnesses?

Voltaren, also known as diclofenac, helps to manage pain and inflammation by reducing the production of prostaglandins in your body. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which is responsible for producing these substances that cause inflammation, fever and pain. Prostaglandins are chemicals that act as messengers in various processes within the body such as regulation of inflammation responses, blood flow, and formation of blood clots among other things. High levels of prostaglandins can lead to increased sensitivity to pain and inflammatory reactions. Therefore, by reducing their production via COX inhibition, Voltaren can limit the negative effects of excessive prostaglandin production resulting in relief from symptoms like swelling or joint stiffness associated with conditions such as arthritis.

What is Aspirin?

Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is a salicylate drug that can be used for various purposes such as reducing pain, fever or inflammation. It was first synthesized in 1897 and has since become one of the most commonly used medications globally.

Aspirin works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, substances in the body that cause inflammation and pain. It functions by irreversibly disabling platelet COX-1 enzymes to prevent formation of the aggregating agent thromboxane A2 in platelets. As a result, it decreases blood clotting which makes it an effective treatment for heart attacks and strokes.

While not typically associated with causing sedation like some other drugs, aspirin does carry its own unique set of side effects including gastrointestinal ulcers/bleeding and tinnitus at high doses. However, its benefits often outweigh these risks especially when considering cardiovascular health or when dealing with certain types of pain or inflammation where Voltaren might not be suitable.

What conditions is Aspirin approved to treat?

Aspirin is recognized and approved for use in a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with cardiovascular disease
  • Providing temporary relief from minor pain or discomfort associated with conditions like arthritis, muscle aches, toothaches, and common cold
  • Lowering fever

In addition to its analgesic effects, Aspirin's antiplatelet action plays an essential role in preventing blood clots. It's important to note that while both Aspirin and Voltaren can provide pain relief and reduce inflammation, the decision on which one to use should be based on individual health needs. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any medication regimen.

How does Aspirin help with these illnesses?

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, chemicals in the body that cause pain, fever and inflammation. It also inhibits platelet aggregation, thus preventing clots from forming. This makes it useful not only for relieving mild to moderate pain but also as a preventative measure against heart attacks and strokes. Its action on thromboxane A2 may play key roles in its effectiveness as an anticoagulant medication. Compared with Voltaren, another NSAID which primarily focuses on reducing inflammation and relieving pain, aspirin's broad spectrum of uses make it more versatile in treating different conditions. Therefore, aspirin might be recommended over Voltaren when patients require both pain relief and protection against cardiovascular events.

How effective are both Voltaren and Aspirin?

Both diclofenac (Voltaren) and aspirin are established non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) widely used for their analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Diclofenac was first approved by the FDA in 1988 while aspirin has been available over-the-counter since the late 19th century.

The effectiveness of diclofenac and aspirin in pain management was directly studied in several clinical trials; both drugs exhibited similar efficacy in managing symptoms of osteoarthritis as well as promising safety profiles. In these studies, none of the different metrics used to measure efficacy differed significantly between patients receiving diclofenac or those taking aspirin. Furthermore, a 2012 clinical trial comparing Voltaren against Aspirin noted fewer gastrointestinal side effects with Voltaren use.

A review published in 2007 indicated that diclofenac is effective at relieving acute pain, where it's considered as one of the strongest NSAIDs available - often comparable to opioids but without any associated respiratory depression. It also demonstrated a favorable side effect profile compared to many other NSAIDs and is generally well-tolerated across various age groups including elderly populations.

Aspirin—while not typically chosen for its strength—is unique among NSAIDs due to its irreversibly inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation which confers cardioprotective properties when taken at low doses long-term. Despite this advantage, high-dose or prolonged usage can lead to significant gastrointestinal irritation which can be mitigated through concurrent administration with proton pump inhibitors.

Nonetheless, due to their slightly distinct pharmacology—with aspirins' unique antiplatelet activity—either may be more appropriate depending on individual patient requirements such as those predisposed towards cardiovascular events who might benefit from regular low-dose Aspirin intake.

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At what dose is Voltaren typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Voltaren range from 100-150 mg/day, divided into several smaller doses. For the relief of osteoarthritis, the recommended dosage is 100-150 mg per day in divided doses (50 mg twice a day or three times a day, or 75 mg twice a day). For rheumatoid arthritis, the dose usually is higher, up to 225mg daily if needed. Children and adolescents may be started on lower dosages depending on their weight and condition. Dosage can be increased after one week if there is no response. It's important that patients don't exceed the maximum daily dosage which varies based on indication and population.

At what dose is Aspirin typically prescribed?

Aspirin treatment typically begins at a dosage of 81–325 mg/day for heart health and stroke prevention. For pain relief or fever reduction, the initial dose can be between 500-1000 mg, then followed by doses of 500 mg every four to six hours as needed. The maximum daily dose should not exceed 4 grams per day divided into several doses throughout the day. If there is no sufficient response or improvement in symptoms after a few days of use, medical advice should be sought since long-term high-dose aspirin use may lead to various adverse effects.

What are the most common side effects for Voltaren?

While using Voltaren (diclofenac), you may experience:

  • Indigestion, gas, stomach pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Headache, dizziness, drowsiness
  • Itching or rash
  • Increased sweating

On the other hand, common side effects of Aspirin include:

  • Upset stomach and heartburn
  • Drowsiness
  • Mild headache or body aches -Nausea and vomiting -Bruising more easily than normal.

It's important to remember that while these lists include some of the most common side effects for both medications, they do not list all possible side effects. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are experiencing any new symptoms after starting a new medication.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Voltaren?

While Voltaren is generally considered safe, it can cause several side effects in rare cases, including:

  • Signs of a serious allergic reaction: difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Severe skin reactions: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness and trouble breathing.
  • Hepatic dysfunction: yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine
  • Kidney problems: change in the amount of urine
  • Hypertension or fluid retention symptoms such as unusual weight gain and tiredness
  • Gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, abdominal pain or bloody stools

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Voltaren, stop using it immediately and seek medical attention. It's important to remember that not everyone will experience these side effects; they occur very rarely. Always consult with your healthcare provider for advice tailored specifically to your circumstances.

What are the most common side effects for Aspirin?

Potential side effects and symptoms associated with Aspirin use may include:

  • Upset stomach, heartburn or nausea
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Increased risk of bleeding due to its blood-thinning properties
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Potential allergic reactions such as rash or hives
  • Sleep problems like insomnia
  • Mild confusion, particularly in older adults.

It is also important to note that prolonged use of aspirin can lead to more serious complications such as gastric ulcers and kidney damage. Always ensure you are taking Aspirin under appropriate medical guidance.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Aspirin?

Aspirin, while commonly used and generally safe for most people when used as directed, can still cause serious side effects in some individuals. These may include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction that require immediate medical attention: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Severe nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
  • Bloody or tarry stools (indicative of internal bleeding)
  • Any hearing changes such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or hearing loss
  • Confusion, hallucinations or rapid breathing
  • Severe headache followed by a feeling of pressure behind your eyes

If you experience any of these symptoms after taking aspirin, it's crucial to seek medical help immediately.

Contraindications for Voltaren and Aspirin?

Both Voltaren and Aspirin, as with most other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may worsen symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding in some people. If you notice an increase in abdominal pain, bloody stools, or dark vomit that looks like coffee grounds, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Voltaren nor Aspirin should be taken if you are taking blood thinners such as warfarin. Always inform your physician about all the medications you're currently using; blood thinners will require careful monitoring to prevent dangerous interactions with both Voltaren and Aspirin.

Similar to MAOIs' interaction with Prozac and Wellbutrin, certain medicines may interact adversely with NSAIDs. Therefore it's crucial that your healthcare provider is aware of all over-the-counter medications, prescriptions drugs, vitamins and herbal supplements that you are taking.

How much do Voltaren and Aspirin cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 100 tablets of Voltaren (50 mg) averages around $60, working out to about $0.60/day.
  • The price for a bottle of Bayer Aspirin containing 200 tablets (325 mg each) is approximately $10, translating to less than $0.05 per day.

Thus, if you are taking aspirin at recommended over-the-counter doses for pain relief or heart health purposes (i.e., 81mg - 325mg/day), then Bayer Aspirin is significantly cheaper on a per-day treatment basis compared to Voltaren.

However, it's important to remember that cost should not be your primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you; effectiveness and suitability given your particular medical condition(s) should be prioritized.

For the generic versions:

  • Diclofenac Sodium (generic version of Voltaren) costs much less with prices ranging from roughly $20 –$40 for a supply of ninety 75-mg tablets or thirty 50-mg tablets. This works out to between approximately $0.22–$1.33 per day based on common dosages.

  • Generic aspirin is available in bottles containing up to several hundred tablets with an average cost starting as low as just over one cent per tablet ($2-$3 for a bottle). Even at higher daily doses used by some individuals under specific healthcare provider advice, this still equates to mere pennies per day due its substantial availability and widespread use.

Popularity of Voltaren and Aspirin

Diclofenac, commonly known by the brand name Voltaren, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 6.3 million people in the US in 2020. Diclofenac accounted for just over 13% of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescriptions in the US. However, it appears to be one of the most-common "atypical" NSAIDs due to its dual mechanism of action as an inhibitor of both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. The prevalence of diclofenac has been generally increasing since around 2013.

Aspirin, also a type of NSAID but classed separately due its unique qualities including blood-thinning properties, was prescribed to approximately 20 million people in the USA in 2020. In terms of overall NSAID prescriptions, aspirin accounts for just under 40%. Despite being discovered over a century ago, its use remains steady thanks largely to its efficacy at low doses for preventing heart disease and stroke.


Both Voltaren (diclofenac) and Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) are well-established nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with a wealth of clinical data supporting their effectiveness in managing pain, inflammation, and fever. They can sometimes be used together under the careful supervision of a physician due to potential interactions and contraindications. Their mechanisms of action differ slightly: while both inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes reducing prostaglandin synthesis, aspirin irreversibly inhibits these enzymes whereas diclofenac does so reversibly.

Voltaren is often prescribed for acute or chronic conditions involving inflammation and pain such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, whereas aspirin is typically used for mild to moderate pain relief, fever reduction, and importantly - in low doses - as an antiplatelet agent to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Both medications are available in generic form which represents significant cost savings particularly for patients who must pay out-of-pocket. Effects may not be noticeable immediately after starting treatment with either drug due to varying individual responses.

The side effect profiles between the two drugs have some similarities but also important differences; gastrointestinal issues like stomach ulcers are common concerns with NSAID use. However, Voltaren appears more likely than aspirin to elevate blood pressure or impair kidney function over time. For both drugs, patients should monitor their symptoms closely when starting treatment seeking medical help promptly if they notice any worsening condition or severe side effects.