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FlexiSEQ vs Voltaren: which gel is the best?

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 5 minutes read
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If you're looking for an anti-inflammatory pain reliever or something to deal with joint pain and stiffness, FlexiSEQ and Voltaren are ideal products to use. The products are similar, but also have some key differences which might impact your decision on which to choose.

In this article, we take a closer look at both products to help you make an educated decision on which one is right for you.

What is FlexiSEQ?

FlexiSEQ is a gel that is drug free and can be used for osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis. It is especially useful for targeting pain in the knee.

FlexiSEQ contains tiny lipid spheres called Sequessome vesicles (SEQ Tech). These spheres change their shape and pass through the skin as the gel dries on the surface of the area it has been applied to. They pass into the joints and lubricate the surface of the cartilage to help ease pain and stiffness.

What is Voltaren?

Voltaren is a diclofenac gel that is used as an anti-inflammatory pain reliever.

Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It uses Emulgel technology to reach deep into the skin to deliver the core ingredient diclofenac to the affected area. It provides a cooling effect to the applied area helping to sooth pain and inflammation.

What is the difference between ingredients in FlexiSEQ and Voltaren?

The key difference between FlexiSEQ and Voltaren is that FlexiSEQ is drug free, containing alcohol and phosphatidylcholine. Voltaren is not drug free, containing diclofenac sodium, an active ingredient that reduces swelling. As a result, Voltaren can be a more powerful pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. However, both are effective anti-inflammatory medications that can be used to help treat joint pain.

Diclofenac is only intended for people over 18 years of age, and should not be used for more than 21 days in a row. Like all medications, do not take them if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication, if you have severe kidney or liver problems, or if you have other medications or medical conditions where you would normally discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist before starting a new treatment.

FlexiSEQ Ingredients:

  • Aqua, Phosphatidylcholine, Alcohol, Glycerin, Carbomer, Polysorbate 80, Disodium phosphate, Sodium hydroxide, Benzyl alcohol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Linalool, Disodium EDTA, Sodium phosphate, Sodium metabisulfite, BHT.

Voltaren Ingredients:

  • The active substance is diclofenac sodium.
  • The other ingredients (excipients) are carbomer homopolymer Type C, cocoyl caprylocaprate, fragrance, isopropyl alcohol, mineral oil, polyoxyl 20 cetostearyl ether, propylene glycol, purified water, and strong ammonia solution.

The ingredients in both products can help to varying degrees with joint pain, but there are significantly more risks when taking diclofenac as it's a stronger medication.

How quickly do FlexiSEQ and Voltaren work?

FlexiSEQ should be applied 2 times a day and can begin to relieve pain in around 2 days. It can take a week for the full effects of the treatment to be noticeable.

Voltaren gel usually takes 1 to 2 days to work and it depends on the level of joint stiffness you are treating. You can apply up to 4 times a day. The amount of gel required each time depends on the size of the area you're treating.

How long does pain relief last?

With FlexiSEQ, it is possible for joint pain to come back after stopping treatment for a few days, as the phospholipids degrade in the body and stop alleviating the pain and inflammation.

Voltaren gel will provide pain relief for around 6-8 hours and if applied four times daily, it can give all day pain relief.

Does FlexiSEQ or Voltaren have more side effects?

As with any medication, there is always the possibility of some side effects when using either FlexiSEQ or Voltaren.

Lets take a look at some of the common side effects associated with these medications.

FlexiSEQ side effects

In the majority of people, it's very unlikely that FlexiSEQ gel will cause any side effects, although it can cause minor skin irritation such as:

Voltaren side effects

Voltaren has a higher chance of causing side effects than FlexiSEQ as it is a diclofenac-based product. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion

Voltaren can cause irritation to the lining of the stomach and this is most likely to occur when it is used for multiple days.

Before using Voltaren, you should also make sure none of the following are applicable. You should avoid using it if:

  • You've had a previous allergic reaction to any medication containing diclofenac
  • You have severe kidney or liver problems
  • You are asthmatic and have not taken any anti-inflammatories previously as they can potentially cause an acute asthma attack
  • You are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • You have a known stomach ulcer or inflammatory bowel disease, avoid taking diclofenac unless your doctor has recommended it

You should speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns about using this medication.

Can I use Voltaren with FlexiSEQ?

You're able to use Voltaren alongside FlexiSEQ; however, they should not be used in combination at the same time. If you are using FlexiSEQ, you should give it 4-6 hours before applying Voltaren if you want to use both treatments to target your joint pain.

In summary, is FlexiSEQ or Voltaren better?

FlexiSEQ and Voltaren are fairly similar products. Neither medication is categorically better than the other, and they are both suitable to use as a joint relief gel. However, there are some differences between them that may sway your decision, for example, whether you are looking for a drug-free, or drug-based treatment.

Voltaren is drug-based (contains diclofenac), whereas FlexiSEQ is drug-free. The implication of this is that Voltaren can be more effective for pain relief; however, as a drug-based treatment, Voltaren can come with more potential side effects.

If you are unsure about which treatment is best for you, we're here to help. Please get in touch with our caring team of medical experts to find out more.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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