Diclofenac is widely used to manage chronic inflammatory and degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis, and extra-articular rheumatism. Its various mechanisms of action make it particularly effective in treating nociceptive pain, but it is also an alternative for treating spinal and chronic central pain. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most frequently encountered arthritic conditions in adults. The management of nociceptive pain requires a sequential hierarchical approach, with the initial NSAID treatment being characterized by the replacement of one drug with another, or complete discontinuation usually because of insufficient pain control. OA- and RA-related pain is complex and multifactorial, and due to physiological interactions between the signaling of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The mechanisms of action of diclofenac make it particularly effective in treating both nociceptive pain and chronic central pain. This review underlines the mechanisms of diclofenac involved in chronic and acute joint pain, the most relevant adverse events.
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