Actinic keratosis is a frequent lesion which occurs in sunlight exposed areas. Diclofenac sodium and 5-Fluorouracil are effective, non-invasive and easy-to-apply topical treatment options.

To assess and compare the effectiveness of 3% diclofenac sodium associated with 2.5% hyaluronic acid and of 5% 5-Fluorouracil for the treatment of actinic keratosis, as well as the patient's degree of satisfaction and tolerability.

28 patients with a clinical diagnosis of actinic keratosis were randomized to receive diclofenac sodium or 5-Fluorouracil and were clinically assessed before and after treatment as well as 8 weeks after the end of treatment. Modified versions of the Investigator and Patient Global Improvement Scores were used.

The average number of lesions in the diclofenac sodium group before and after treatment was 13.6 and 6.6 (p< 0,001), respectively, while it was 17.4 and 3.15 (p< 0.001) in the 5-Fluorouracil group. There was a significant reduction in the number of lesions in the 5-Fluorouracil group in relation to the diclofenac sodium group (p< 0.001). To the non-blinded physician, there was a higher satisfactory therapeutic response in the 5-Fluorouracil group (p< 0.001); to the blinded physician, there was a higher satisfactory response in this same group, although not statistically significant (p=0.09). There was a high degree of satisfaction in both groups (73% in the diclofenac sodium group and 77% in the 5-Fluorouracil group; p=0.827). Regarding adverse effects, the diclofenac sodium group presented a higher degree of satisfaction (93.3% vs 38.4%; p=0.008). Erythema, edema, crusts and itching were significantly higher in the 5-Fluorouracil group.

We concluded that 5-Fluorouracil was more effective; however, it showed lower tolerability than diclofenac sodium.

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