Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice. All statements are merely the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to pain relief.
Voltaren is an over-the-counter (OTC) gel product used to relieve arthritis pain. The product is FDA-approved, and the brand claims that their gel can relieve arthritis pain, improve mobility and reduce stiffness.
But what’s actually in Voltaren Gel and is its active ingredient proven to relieve pain? Does the product contain any questionable additive ingredients? What retailer sells Voltaren Gel for the best price? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of this product?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Voltaren Gel based on medical studies.
We’ll also provide a cost comparison to feature the retailer that sells Voltaren for the best price, and share real, unsponsored customer reviews.
The ingredients in Voltaren Gel are shown above.
Diclofenac sodium is the sole active ingredient, and has been tested in clinical trials for its effects on pain.
A 2016 clinical trial found that diclofenac sodium significantly reduced pain levels in arthritis patients when applied topically.
A 2017 medical review found that diclofenac sodium as a topical treatment was equally effective when compared with oral use, but that topical use was associated with fewer side effects.
A clinical trial published in the Clinical Interventions in Aging journal reported that diclofenac sodium at the same concentration as in Voltaren had similar effectiveness in relieving pain to oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
This suggests that Voltaren Gel may be a safer option for patients to discuss with their doctor, given that NSAIDs can cause side effects when used over long periods of time.
There is one inactive ingredient in this formulation that we consider notable.
Fragrance was analyzed in a 2016 medical review, and the study authors concluded that fragranced consumer products may have negative health effects.
Overall, we consider Voltaren likely to relieve pain, which is unsurprising given that the product is FDA-approved.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of Voltaren? We’ll review in the next section.
Real Customers Review Voltaren
A TikTok creator named Lu Jay claims that Voltaren has been a life-saver for her:
@lumaelynne I cant get over how much i love this stuff! #GenshinImpact33 #miracle #diclofenac #voltaren #voltarengel #backpain #aches #pain #works ♬ original sound - Lu Jay
A TikTok creator named Abs rated Voltaren along with other topical pain medications she uses for arthritis:
@tuttsabs Rate my arthritis topicals with me (so not sponsored). #arthritisrelief #arthritispainrelief #lupus #tigerbalm #aspercreme #icyhot #voltaren #biofreeze #curaleaf #jrwatkins #smithamishcreams #topicalpainrelief ♬ original sound - Abs
Where to Buy Voltaren for the Best Price
Voltaren is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here’s a price breakdown for the 5.29 ounce version at the time of publishing this article:
Walgreens: $27.99 (plus shipping)
CVS: $25.49 (plus shipping)
Target: $24.49 (plus shipping)
Walmart: $23.48 (plus shipping)
Amazon: $23.48 (free shipping – link to official Amazon listing)
Voltaren is over 20% cheaper on Amazon than at Walgreens when considering shipping costs.
Why Was Voltaren's Manufacturer Sued?
In 2017, the manufacturer of Voltaren was sued by an Australian advertising commission alleging misleading marketing, according to AdNews.
The suit alleged that the “Emulgel” and “Osteo Gel” were marketed for different health claims, while containing the exact same formulation.
In 2020, the manufacturer of Voltaren agreed to pay $4.5 million in penalties for breaches of Australian Consumer Law related to this incident.
The good news is that this lawsuit was only in regard to marketing claims, and not in regard to product safety or efficacy, so it doesn’t seem like something consumers need to be particularly concerned about.
Does Voltaren Cause Side Effects?
Given that Voltaren is a topical treatment, it appears to have a lower risk of side effects than the oral treatment of the same drug, as documented in the ingredient analysis section.
A separate 2010 medical review found that the most common side effect from topical treatment of the active ingredient in Voltaren was dry skin (occurring in 27% of trial participants).
This is a relatively mild side effect for a pain relief treatment.
There is no mention of side effects on the Drug Facts label for Voltaren at the time of publishing this article.
Gastrointestinal adverse events are rare with topical use of this drug, but may occur, according to a medical review published in the Drugs journal. Patients may wish to speak with their doctor about side effects they’re experiencing.
Overall, we consider the risk of side effects from use of Voltaren to be relatively low, and certainly lower than most pharmaceutical medications in the pain relief product category.
Real Customers Review Voltaren
Amazon is a great resource for customer reviews in our opinion.
Voltaren has been reviewed over 3,000 times on Amazon with an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “ZHEWEI LEI” claims that the gel relieved pain:
“My arms had so much pain that I couldn't even lift objects that were too heavy. I went to see my doctor and he recommended this product I used it for a while and it really worked, the pain in my arm was reduced and I believe that if I keep using it, it will make me better.”
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by an anonymous Amazon Customer who claims the medication is only effective for certain types of joint pain:
“Could not use it because it is for very certain joints only. Could not return it is against Amazon policy.”
Can Food-Based Supplements Relieve Pain?
Cinnamon is a spice that has been studied for its ability to reduce pain and support joint health.
A clinical trial published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that cinnamon supplementation at a daily dose of 500 mg reduced inflammation and joint swelling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
A 2020 clinical trial found that cinnamon supplementation reduced inflammatory markers. The study authors concluded that “Cinnamon could be regarded as a safe supplement to relieve pain.”
Illuminate Labs manufactures a Ceylon Cinnamon Extract supplement that’s potent (standardized to minimum 8% flavonoids) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy (test results published transparently on the product page). It only costs $15 for a monthly subscription.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Ceylon Cinnamon Extract at this link.
Collagen is the core structural protein in joints. The body produces it naturally, but its production decreases with age. Medical research has shown that collagen can reduce joint pain in athletes at a 10 gram (g) daily dose, and can reduce arthritic pain (meta-study, doses ranging between 40 mg and 10 g daily dose).
We recommend Bulletproof Collagen Powder as our top collagen product because it provides an effective collagen dose per serving (20 g) and contains one single ingredient: collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed animals. There are no questionable additives. This supplement only costs $45.16 for over a month's worth of product.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen powder at this link to the brand's official website.
Cornbread CBD Lotion is our top pick for a topical CBD product.
This lotion also contains menthol, which was shown in a 2022 clinical trial to reduce pain scores.
Interested consumers can check out Cornbread CBD Lotion at this link to the product page on the official brand's website.
We do not recommend using dietary supplements to treat any specific medical condition related to pain, and we are not suggesting that any of the supplements referenced in this section are as effective as Voltaren or any other FDA-approved medication for pain relief.
Pros and Cons of Voltaren
Here are the pros and cons of Voltaren in our opinion:
- Appears safer than oral version of same drug
- Clinically proven to be effective for arthritis pain
- Available OTC
- May be safer than long-term NSAID use
- Contains fragrance
- May cause skin irritation and dry skin in some individuals
- May cause gastrointestinal side effects in rare cases