Capsaicin Uses

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What is Capsaicin?

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.

Capsaicin indications

An indication is a term used for the list of condition or symptom or illness for which the medicine is prescribed or used by the patient. For example, acetaminophen or paracetamol is used for fever by the patient, or the doctor prescribes it for a headache or body pains. Now fever, headache and body pains are the indications of paracetamol. A patient should be aware of the indications of medications used for common conditions because they can be taken over the counter in the pharmacy meaning without prescription by the Physician.

The Capsaicin 8% patch is indicated in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia. There are multiple topical Capsaicin formulations available, including creams and solutions, indicated for temporary analgesia in muscle and join pain as well as neuropathic pain. (Arthritis; Backache; Bruise; Cramp; Musculoskeletal pain; Post herpetic neuralgia;)

How should I use Capsaicin?

Use Capsaicin lotion as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Capsaicin lotion.

Uses of Capsaicin in details

There are specific as well as general uses of a drug or medicine. A medicine can be used to prevent a disease, treat a disease over a period or cure a disease. It can also be used to treat the particular symptom of the disease. The drug use depends on the form the patient takes it. It may be more useful in injection form or sometimes in tablet form. The drug can be used for a single troubling symptom or a life-threatening condition. While some medications can be stopped after few days, some drugs need to be continued for prolonged period to get the benefit from it.

This medication is used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles/joints (e.g., arthritis, backache, sprains). Capsaicin works by decreasing a certain natural substance in your body (substance P) that helps pass pain signals to the brain.

OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.

This medication may also be used to treat nerve pain.

How to use Capsaicin APR topical

Use this medication on the skin only. Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

For the cream, gel, and lotion forms, apply a thin layer of medication to the affected area and rub in gently and thoroughly. You may want to use a cotton ball/swab or latex glove to apply the medication to avoid touching the medication with your hands.

Do not apply the medication in the eyes, mouth, nostrils, or genitals. If you do get the medication in those areas, flush with plenty of water. Also, do not apply this medication to skin that is injured or irritated (e.g., cut, scraped, sunburned).

Do not apply this medication immediately before or after activities such as bathing, swimming, sun bathing, or heavy exercise. Do not bandage or wrap the affected area or use a heating pad on that area. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects.

After applying the medication, wash your hands unless you are using this medication to treat the hands. If treating the hands, wait at least 30 minutes after applying the medication to wash your hands.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.

This medication may sometimes take up to 2 months to work. Tell your doctor if your condition persists for more than 7 days, if it worsens, or if it keeps returning. If you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.

Capsaicin description


Capsaicin is most often used as a topical analgesic and exists in many formulations of cream, liquid, and patch preparations of various strengths; however, it may also be found in some dietary supplements. Capsaicin is a naturally-occurring botanical irritant in chili peppers, synthetically derived for pharmaceutical formulations. The most recent Capsaicin FDA approval was Qutenza, an 8% Capsaicin patch dermal-delivery system, indicated for neuropathic pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia.

Capsaicin dosage

Usual Adult Dose for Postherpetic Neuralgia

Qutenza(R): Up to 4 patches applied to intact, non-irritated, dry skin, and allowed to remain in place for 30 minutes for the feet and 60 minutes for other locations


-Treatment may be repeated not more frequently than every three months.

-The patch should be applied by a physician or by a health care professional under the supervision of a physician.

Use: Management of neuropathic pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia

Usual Adult Dose for Pain

Salonpas(R)/Capsaicin(R)/Capzasin(R): Apply to affected area not more than 3 to 4 times a day

Uses: For the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of the muscles and joints associated with simple backache, strains, sprains, bruises, arthritis

Zostrix(R): Apply a thin film to the affected area two to four times daily, and gently rub in until fully absorbed

Comments: Unless being treated, hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water immediately after use.

Uses: For the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of the muscles and joints associated with strains, sprains, bruises, arthritis

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pain


-Adolescents 12 years and older: Apply to affected area not more than 3 to 4 times a day

Uses: For the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of the muscles and joints associated with simple backache, strains, sprains, bruises, arthritis

Renal Dose Adjustments

Data not available

Liver Dose Adjustments

Data not available


Safety and efficacy have not been established in patients younger than 2 years.

Consult WARNINGS section for additional precautions.


Data not available

Other Comments

Administration advice:

-Qutenza(R): The manufacturer product information should be consulted.

-Salonpas(R): Affected area should be dried and cleaned; film should be peeled from patch and applied to the skin; patch should be removed from the skin after at most 8 hours' application


-Nitrile gloves should be used when handling Qutenza(R), and when cleaning Capsaicin residue from the skin. Latex gloves should not be used as they do not provide adequate protection.

Capsaicin interactions

See also:
What other drugs will affect Capsaicin?


Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Before using Capsaicin products containing lidocaine or other local anesthetics, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also take class I antiarrhythmic drugs (such as mexiletine, quinidine).

Capsaicin is very similar to zucapsaicin. Do not use medications containing zucapsaicin while using Capsaicin.

Capsaicin side effects

See also:
What are the possible side effects of Capsaicin?

Applies to Capsaicin topical: topical cream, topical film, topical gel/jelly, topical liquid, topical lotion, topical ointment, topical pad, topical patch extended release, topical stick

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by Capsaicin topical (the active ingredient contained in Capsaicin). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking Capsaicin topical:

More common - all forms

Less common - all forms Less common - patch only Incidence not known - patch only

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with Capsaicin topical may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common - patch only

Incidence not known - patch only

Capsaicin contraindications

See also:
What is the most important information I should know about Capsaicin?

this medicine is contra-indicated for use on broken or irritated skin.

this medicine is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to Capsaicin or any of the excipients used in this product.

Active ingredient matches for Capsaicin:


Unit description / dosage (Manufacturer)Price, USD
Cream; Topical; Capsaicin 0.025%
Cream; Topical; Capsaicin 0.075%
Capsaicin patch .6 mg/1 (Pharmaplast SAE (US))

List of Capsaicin substitutes (brand and generic names):

Cream; Topical; Capsaicin 0.075%
Cream; Topical; Capsaicin 0.025%
Cream; Topical; Capsaicin 0.025%
Cream; Topical; Capsaicin 0.05%
CAPSAIN - P Cream/ Gel/ Ointment / 0.075/ % / 25gm units (Sun Pharmaceuticals)$ 1.51
CAPSAIN - P Cream/ Gel/ Ointment / 0.025/ % / 25gm units (Sun Pharmaceuticals)$ 0.48
Capsain P 0.075% Cream (Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.)$ 1.51
Capsain P 0.025% Gel (Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.)$ 0.48
0.025 % x 25g (Sun)$ 0.48
0.075 % x 25g (Sun)$ 1.51
Capsain-P 0.025% CRM / 25g (Sun)$ 0.48
Capsain-P 0.075% CRM / 25g (Sun)$ 1.51
CAPSAIN-P cream 0.025 % x 25g (Sun)$ 0.48
CAPSAIN-P cream 0.075 % x 25g (Sun)$ 1.51
Capsain-P 0.025% CRM / 25g (Sun)$ 0.48
Capsain-P 0.075% CRM / 25g (Sun)$ 1.51
Capsicin 0.025% 2.5 mg/10 g x 1 tube x 10 g (Vinas)
Capsicin 0.05% 5 mg/5 g x 1 tube x 5 g (Vinas)
Cream; Topical; Capsaicin 0.35 mg / g (Croslands (Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd)
CAPSIDOL Cream/ Gel/ Ointment / 0.02% - 5% - 2% - 0.5% / 30gm units (Croslands (Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd)$ 0.79
30g (Croslands (Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd)$ 0.84
Capsidol Piroxicam 0.5% w/w, capsicumoleoresin equiv. to Capsaicin0.025% w/w, Methyl Salicylate5% w/w, Menthol 2% w/w GEL / 30g (Croslands (Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd)$ 0.84
Capsidol Piroxicam 0.5 % w/w, capsaicin0.025 % w/w, methyl salicylate5 % w/w, menthol 2 % w/w. T-GEL / 30g (Croslands (Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd)$ 0.87
Capsidol 30 gm Gel (Croslands (Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd)$ 0.86
CAPSIDOL topical gel 30g (Croslands (Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd)$ 0.87
Capsika -25 0.025 % w/w x 15 g
Capsika -25 0.025 % w/w x 35 g
Capsika -25 0.025 % w/w x 60 g


  1. DailyMed. "CAPSAICIN: DailyMed provides trustworthy information about marketed drugs in the United States. DailyMed is the official provider of FDA label information (package inserts).". (accessed September 17, 2018).
  2. PubChem. "Capsaicin". (accessed September 17, 2018).
  3. DrugBank. "Capsaicin". (accessed September 17, 2018).


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Information checked by Dr. Sachin Kumar, MD Pharmacology

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