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Medications and Drugs

Pain Management: Surprising Causes of Pain

Brand Names: Capsicum Oleoresin, Capsin, Capzasin Back and Body, Capzasin Quick Relief, Capzasin-HP, Capzasin-P, Castiva Warming, Icy Hot PM, Icy Hot with Capsaicin, Menthac Arthritis Cream with Capsaicin, Qutenza, Salonpas Gel-Patch, Salonpas Pain Patch with Capsaicin, Sloan's Liniment, Trixaicin, Trixaicin HP, Zostrix, Zostrix Diabetic Foot Pain, Zostrix Foot Pain, Zostrix Neuropathy, Zostrix Sports, Zostrix-HP

Generic Name: capsaicin topical (Pronunciation: kap SAY sin TOP i kal)

What is capsaicin topical (Capsicum Oleoresin, Capsin, Capzasin Back and Body, Capzasin Quick Relief, Capzasin-HP, Capzasin-P, Castiva Warming, Icy Hot PM, Icy Hot with Capsaicin, Menthac Arthritis Cream with Capsaicin, Qutenza, Salonpas Gel-Patch, Salonpas Pain Patch with Capsaicin, Sloan's Liniment, Trixaicin, Trixaicin HP, Zostrix, Zostrix Diabetic Foot Pain, Zostrix Foot Pain, Zostrix Neuropathy, Zostrix Sports, Zostrix-HP)?

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers that makes them hot. Capsaicin is used in medicated creams and lotions to relieve muscle or joint pain.

Capsaicin used on the body causes a sensation of heat that activates certain nerve cells. With regular use of capsaicin, this heating effect reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that acts as a pain messenger in the body.

Capsaicin topical is used for temporary relief of muscle or joint pain caused by strains, sprains, arthritis, bruising, or backaches. Capsaicin topical is also used to treat nerve pain (neuralgia) in people who have had herpes zoster, or "shingles."

Capsaicin topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of capsaicin topical?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Wash the skin and get medical attention right away if you have severe burning, pain, swelling, or blistering of the skin where you applied this medication.

Stop using capsaicin topical and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • skin redness where the medicine was applied; or
  • trouble breathing or swallowing (after accidental inhalation of capsaicin odor or dried residue).

Less serious side effects may include a mild burning sensation that can last for several hours or days, especially after your first use of capsaicin topical.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about capsaicin topical?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to chili peppers, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to capsaicin topical.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist about using capsaicin topical if you have any allergies or serious medical conditions. Do not use this medication on anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of a doctor.

Do not apply to open wounds or irritated skin, and avoid getting the medicine on contact lenses, dentures, and other items that come into contact with sensitive areas of your body.

Capsaicin can cause a burning sensation, which is usually mild and should lessen over time with continued use. If the burning sensation causes significant discomfort or skin redness, wash the treated skin area with soap and cool water. Get medical attention right away if you have severe burning, pain, swelling, or blistering of the skin where you applied this medication.

Avoid getting capsaicin topical in your mouth or eyes or near your nose.

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine, or if anyone has accidentally swallowed it. Accidental swallowing of capsaicin can cause problems with swallowing or breathing.

It may take up to 2 weeks of using this medicine regularly before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed.

Call your doctor if your pain does not improve after using this medication for 7 days, or if your symptoms get worse or get better and then come back in a few days.



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.

Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

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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.

Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.



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