The prevalence of skin scars in patients previously given intramuscular diclofenac injections attending the Pain Clinic at Universitas Academic Hospital, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Intramuscular (IM) diclofenac rarely causes scarring (reported incidence <0.05%). Some patients attending the Pain Clinic at Universitas Academic Hospital, Bloemfontein, South Africa, presented with scars that had developed after IM diclofenac injections. We investigated the prevalence of scars in patients at the clinic and how the injections had been obtained. Patients attending the clinic over a period of 9 months who said they had received diclofenac (N=131) were included. Information was collected using a questionnaire and physical examination. Data obtained from 118 patients who were certain that they had received diclofenac were analysed. Ninety-three patients (78.8%) indicated they had not been warned about the possibility that a diclofenac injection could result in scarring. Scarring had occurred in 10 patients (8.5%). Two-thirds of the patients who had obtained diclofenac from a pharmacy had never had a prescription for it. Four patients had required medical treatment for an ulcer or abscess, of whom two had undergone surgery. The risk of skin lesions associated with IM diclofenac is higher than reported previously. Contrary to regulations, diclofenac injections were often dispensed to patients without a prescription.
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