Arthrotec helps to relieve the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and may help to protect patients at risk of irritation or ulceration of the stomach or intestines.
Why have I been prescribed Arthrotec?
How does it work?
- Arthrotec contains diclofenac and misoprostol. Diclofenac belongs to a group of medicinal products called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Although NSAIDs relieve the pain, they can reduce the amount of natural protective substances called prostaglandins in the stomach lining.
- This means that NSAIDs can lead to stomach upsets or stomach ulcers. Arthrotec also contains misoprostol which is very similar to these prostaglandins and may help protect your stomach.
When and how do I take it?
Arthrotec should be swallowed whole with a drink of water (not chewed), taken during or after mealtimes.
What’s the dose?
Take one tablet two or three times a day, as directed by your doctor.
Could it interact with other tablets?
Some medicines can affect the way other medicines work. Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription:
- Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or other NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen).
- Medicines used to treat osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis known as cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors.
- Diuretics (used to treat excess fluid in the body).
- Ciclosporin or tacrolimus (used for immune system suppression e.g. after transplants).
- Lithium (used to treat some types of depression).
- Digoxin (a medicine for an irregular heart beat and/or heart failure).
- Warfarin or other oral anticoagulants (blood-thinning agents that reduce blood clotting).
- Medicines used to treat anxiety and depression known as Serotonin Selective Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
- Medicines used to control your blood sugar (oral hypoglycaemics for diabetes).
- Methotrexate (used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and leukaemia).
- Steroid medications (e.g. corticosteroids, which are often used as anti-inflammatory medicines).
- Medicines for high blood pressure (anti-hypertensives).
- Magnesium containing antacids (used to treat heatburn, indigestion).
- Quinolone antibiotics (used to treat some infections).
- Ketoconazole (used to treat some fungal infections).
- If you have taken a medicine called mifepristone (used to terminate pregnancy) within the last 12 days. Arthrotec 50 should not be taken within 8-12 days of taking mifepristone.
Herbal products should also only be taken after talking with your doctor.
What are the possible risks or side-effects?
Like all medicines, Arthrotec can have side effects, although not everybody gets them.
If you are worried about side effects, ask your doctor. It is important that you know what can happen, so that you can take action if Arthrotec does have a side effect. Arthrotec sometimes causes side effects but these usually go away during treatment as your body gets used to the medicine.
If any of the following happen, stop taking Arthrotec and tell your doctor immediately:
If you have:
- severe stomach pain or any sign of bleeding or rupture in the stomach or intestines, such as passing black or bloodstained stools, or vomiting blood – this occurs very rarely;
- a serious skin reaction such as rash, blistering or peeling of the skin (Stevens-Johnson syndrome, exfoliative dermatitis and toxic epidermal necrolysis) – this occurs very rarely;
- a serious allergic reaction such as skin rash, swelling of the face, wheezing or difficulty breathing (anaphylactic shock) – this occurs rarely);
- jaundice (your skin or the whites of your eyes look yellow) – this occurs rarely.
Additionally, if any of the following side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor or pharmacist.
Very common side effects (affecting more than 1 in every 10):
- Stomach ache, diarrhoea, nausea (feeling sick), indigestion.Diarrhoea is the most common problem and is occasionally severe. You have less chance of getting diarrhoea if you take Arthrotec with food. If you use an antacid (something to reduce acid in the stomach) you should avoid antacids with magnesium in them as these may make diarrhoea worse. Your pharmacist can help you choose a suitable antacid. If this diarrhoea continues and is severe tell your doctor.
Common side effects (affecting less than 1 person in every 10, but more than 1 in every 100):
- Rash, itching.
- Vomiting, wind, constipation, burping, gastritis (indigestion, stomach ache, vomiting).
- Ulcers in the stomach or intestines.
- Headache, dizziness.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Changes in blood tests relating to the liver.
Can I drink alcohol while taking it?
- There are no known interactions between alcohol and Arthrotec.
- Always ask you doctor or pharmacist however as other medications you are taking may have a bearing on this.
What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?
- Do not use Arthrotec if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Women who have not reached the menopause should use reliable contraception while they are taking Arthrotec.
- Do not use Arthrotec while you are breastfeeding.
If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.
Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note: We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.