Voltaren Review: Can Gel Relieve Arthritis Pain?

Voltaren Review: Can Gel Relieve Arthritis Pain?


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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.

Ingredient Analysis

Voltaren ingredients

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 Get 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 shippinglink 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.”

Our Clean Anti-Inflammatory Picks

There are natural compounds which have been shown in clinical studies to support optimal joint health and relieve pain.

Cinnamon was shown to reduce inflammatory markers in a 2020 clinical trialThe study authors concluded that “Cinnamon could be regarded as a safe supplement to relieve pain.”

Illuminate Labs Ceylon Cinnamon Extract is our standardized cinnamon supplement, which is third-party tested for purity and potency and costs only $15 at a subscription price.

Collagen is the core structural protein in joints, and has been clinically shown to reduce arthritic pain.

Bulletproof Collagen Powder is our top collagen supplement pick because it only contains one ingredient: collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed animals.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is clinically shown to be effectively absorbed through the skin, and CBD caused "significant improvements in pain" when applied topically in a 2020 clinical trial.

Cornbread CBD Lotion is our top CBD lotion pick, because it also contains menthol, which was shown in a 2022 clinical trial to reduce pain scores.

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.

Pros and Cons of Voltaren 

Here are the pros and cons of Voltaren in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Appears safer than oral version of same drug
  • Clinically proven to be effective for arthritis pain
  • Affordable
  • Available OTC
  • May be safer than long-term NSAID use

Cons:

  • Contains fragrance
  • May cause skin irritation and dry skin in some individuals
  • May cause gastrointestinal side effects in rare cases
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Voltaren is clinically shown to be effective for pain relief, and is available OTC, so it may be a convenient option for consumers given how affordable it is.

The active ingredient in this gel was shown in multiple clinical trials to reduce pain levels in arthritis patients, and this preparation of the drug appears to be safer than the oral format.

The side effect risk of Voltaren appears to be relatively minimal, especially when compared with other pain relief medications.

Most online customer reviews we came across while researching this article suggested that Voltaren is effective for pain relief.

Voltaren was sued over marketing claims and agreed to pay fines related to those claims, but this shouldn’t cause any safety or effectiveness concern to consumers.

At the time of publishing this article, Voltaren is cheaper on Amazon than on other platforms.