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Capsicum

How does Capsicum work?

The fruit of the capsicum plant contains a chemical called capsaicin. Capsaicin seems to reduce pain sensations when applied to the skin.

Are there safety concerns?

Capsicum extract-containing lotion or cream is safe for most adults when applied to the skin. Side effects can include skin irritation, burning, and itching. Capsicum can also be extremely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. Don't use capsicum on sensitive skin or around the eyes.

Capsicum extract seems to be safe for most adults when taken by mouth, short-term. Side effects can include stomach irritation and upset, sweating, flushing, and runny nose. Don't take capsicum by mouth in large doses or for long periods of time. In rare cases, this can lead to more serious side effects like liver or kidney damage.

Capsicum extract seems to be safe when used nasally. No serious side effects have been reported, but application in the nose can be very painful. Nasal application can cause burning pain, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose.

These side effects tend to decrease and go away after 5 or more days of repeated use.

Do not apply capsicum cream or lotion to children under two years old.

Do not apply capsicum to the skin if:
  • You have a pepper allergy.
  • You have damaged or broken skin.
Do not take capsicum by mouth if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have a pepper allergy.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Capsicum might increase the risk of bleeding.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.






Medical Dictionary