Health Guide
Drug Guide

Capsaicin (Topical route)

Pronunciation:

kap-SAY-sin

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Analgesic

Uses of This Medicine:

Capsaicin is used to help relieve a certain type of pain known as neuralgia (shingles). Capsaicin is also used to help relieve minor pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis or muscle sprains and strains. This medicine will not cure any of these conditions.

Neuralgia is a pain that comes from the nerves near the surface of your skin. This pain may occur after an infection with herpes zoster (shingles or postherpetic neuralgia). Capsaicin will help relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia, but it will not cure the condition.

This medicine is available both over-the-counter (OTC) and with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of capsaicin in children. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Older adults

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of capsaicin in the elderly.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

A nurse or other trained healthcare professional will apply the topical Qutenza™ patch to the affected area.

If you are using the topical cream, gel, lotion, or ointment for neuralgia, muscle pain, or arthritis, follow the instructions on the medicine label.

Be careful not to get any of this medicine in your eyes, because it can cause severe eye irritation. If the medicine does get in your eyes, wash the eyes with water and check with your doctor right away.

If capsaicin gets on your face, scalp, or in your mouth, it may cause a burning sensation. Wash these areas with warm (not hot) soapy water.

If you are using the cream, gel, lotion, or ointment:

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

If you use the Qutenza™ patch:

If you use the cream, gel, lotion, or ointment:

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common - all forms
Burning, itching, dryness, pain, redness, swelling, or soreness at the application site
Less common - all forms
Cough
cough-producing mucus
difficulty with breathing
shortness of breath or troubled breathing
sore throat
stuffy or runny nose
tightness in the chest or wheezing
Less common - patch only
Blurred vision
dizziness
headache
nervousness
pounding in the ears
slow or fast heartbeat
Incidence not known - patch only
Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
increased sensitivity to pain
increased sensitivity to touch
rapid weight gain
tingling in the hands and feet
unsteadiness or awkwardness
unusual weight gain or loss
weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common - patch only
Fever
muscle aches
nausea
pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
unusual tiredness or weakness
vomiting
Incidence not known - patch only
Abnormal skin color
change in taste
loss of taste

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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