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FDA approves GSK’s Voltaren Arthritis Pain for over-the-counter use in the US

The US FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (Credit: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration/

GlaxoSmithKline (LSE/NYSE: GSK) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Voltaren Arthritis Pain (diclofenac sodium topical gel, 1% (NSAID)- arthritis pain reliever) as an over-the-counter (OTC) product for the temporary relief of arthritis pain in the hand, wrist, elbow, foot, ankle or knee in adults (18 years and older).

With the FDA’s approval, Voltaren Arthritis Pain becomes the first and only prescription strength, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) topical gel for arthritis pain available OTC in the United States.

Voltaren Gel, which GSKCH owns the rights to, is currently only available with a prescription in the US. Today’s OTC approval of Voltaren Arthritis Pain will provide the nearly 30 million Americans with osteoarthritisi over-the-counter access to this topical treatment option.

Franck Riot, Head of R&D, GSK Consumer Healthcare said: “For the millions of people around the world living with arthritis, joint pain and stiffness are daily realities. At GSK, we are committed to improving the quality of life of these people and today’s approval is progress towards this, providing consumers in the US with increased access to an effective, proven arthritis pain relief option. Voltaren is currently the number 1 OTC topical pain relief brand globally, and we look forward to expanding its availability in the US.”

Dr. Roy Altman, Professor of Medicine in Rheumatology at UCLA said: “Osteoarthritis treatment guidelines from several international and United States medical societies, including the 2019 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) endorse the early use of topical NSAIDs for treating arthritis pain of the knee and hand.  In contrast to prior guidelines, the recommendations are inclusive of all age groups, not just the elderly.”

In addition, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) recently updated and expanded their guidelines for non-surgical management of OA by developing patient-focused treatment recommendations. These updated guidelines strongly recommend topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for individuals with knee OA.  Of the non-core interventions assessed as part of this guideline update, topical NSAIDs were recommended more strongly than all oral analgesics due to favorable balance of consistent efficacy and minor transient side effects.

The submission in support of today’s approval of Voltaren Arthritis Pain was based on clinical data in hand and knee OA supporting the original prescription approval. The data demonstrated a consistent and appreciable onset of pain relief beginning as early as week 1 (as evidenced by appreciable improvements in pain symptoms across multiple pre-specified endpoints).

Written by: PBR Staff Writer

Published on: 18.FEB.2020

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