A controlled-release preparation of diclofenac sodium for transdermal administration has been developed. Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and PVA/poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) alloy membranes were prepared from a solvent-casting technique using different PVA/PAA (v/v) ratios. The release of the drug from the membrane was evaluated under in vitro conditions at pH 7.4. The delivery system provided linear release without time lag, burst effect, and boundary layer resistance. Effects of variables such as film thickness and PVA/PAA ratio on the permeation behavior of the polymeric membranes were discussed. The optimal PVA/PAA was determined as 50/50. (C) 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.