This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed the efficacy and safety of a topical gel containing 3% diclofenac in 2.5% hyaluronan in 150 patients with solar keratoses (SK). The active treatment was compared with the vehicle only, hyaluronan gel, as placebo over a 12-week period. Patients in both groups applied the active treatment or placebo to a targeted area of skin (0.25 g b.d.). At 12 weeks the mean lesion-count reduction in the targeted area was not significantly different between treatments. However, at post-termination follow up (16 weeks), there was a highly significant decrease in the number of lesions, 6.2 +/- 7.5 standard deviations (SD) (56.1% reduction) in the active treatment group compared with 2.4 +/- 4.3 SD (23.6% reduction) in the placebo group (P < 0.001). Other efficacy measures (complete lesion resolution, >50% lesion reduction) were also significantly different (P < 0.01) between treatments at 16 weeks. In conclusion, topical 3% diclofenac in 2.5% hyaluronan gel was effective and well tolerated in this study, suggesting a role for this therapy in the treatment of SK.