Capsaicin (Topical)

Capsaicin (On The Skin)

Capsaicin (kap-SAY-sin)

Helps relieve muscle and joint pain caused by arthritis, sprains, and strains. Also used for nerve pain (neuralgia) that may be caused by shingles or diabetic neuropathy.

Brand Name(s):
Zostrix High Potency, Trixaicin HP, Capsagesic-HP Arthritis Relief, Zostrix Sports, Rid-A-Pain-HP, Zostrix, Trixaicin, Rid-A-Pain, Arthricare For Women Quick-Drying, Arthricare For Women Silky Dry, Capsin, Arthricare For Women, Sportsmed, Pain Enz, Double Cap
There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to capsaicin or hot peppers..

How to Use This Medicine:

Cream, Gel/Jelly, Lotion, Liquid, Stick, Pad, Ointment, Thin Sheet

     
  • Your doctor will tell you how much to use and how often. If you are using this medicine without a doctor’s prescription, read and follow the instructions on the label.  
  • Use this medicine on the skin only. Keep the medicine away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you do get the medicine in your eyes, rinse them with large amounts of cool water. Call your doctor if you have eye pain or redness does not go away.  
  • Wash your hands before and after using this medicine. However, if you are using the medicine to treat arthritis pain in your hands, wait about 30 minutes after using the medicine before washing your hands. Avoid touching sensitive areas such as your eyes while the medicine is on your hands.  
  • Shake the lotion well before using.  
  • Apply a small amount of the cream, lotion, ointment, gel, or liquid medicine over the affected area. Rub it in until you cannot see any medicine left on your skin.  
  • Remove the patch from its pouch and apply it to your skin over the affected area. Do not put the patch on right before you bathe or exercise.  
  • You may feel burning or stinging when you rub in the medicine. The burning or stinging usually stops after you use the medicine for a few days. Using the medicine less often than directed may make the burning feeling last for a longer period.  
  • Do not tightly wrap or bandage the treated area. You should not use a heating pad with the medicine.

If a dose is missed:

     
  • Use the medicine as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for your next dose.  
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next regular dose.  
  • Do not put on two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

     
  • Store the medicine at room temperature away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze.  
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

     
  • Talk to your doctor before you use any other skin medicine on the same area as you are applying capsaicin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

     
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using this medicine.  
  • You should not use the medicine on open wounds, sores, scrapes, or irritated skin.  
  • You may need to use the medicine for 2 weeks or more before it relieves your pain. Keep using the medicine every day. If the medicine has not helped after a month, or if your pain becomes worse after a week, talk with your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

     
  • Severe skin irritation, redness, or swelling that was not there before you started using the medicine.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

     
  • Burning or stinging

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

The drug reference included in this section is provided by Cerner Multum, Inc., of Denver, Colorado. Armenian Medical Network receives monthly updates from Multum.