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Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy (Topical)

Generic name: capsaicin [ kap-SAY-sin ]
Brand names: Arthricare For Women, Capsagel, Capsagesic-HP Arthritis Relief, Capsin, Double Cap, ... show all 12 brands
Drug class: Miscellaneous topical agents

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 6, 2023.

Uses for Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy

Capsaicin is used to help relieve a certain type of pain known as neuralgia (shooting or burning pain in the nerves). Capsaicin is also used to help relieve minor pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis or muscle sprains and strains. Qutenza® patch is also used to treat nerve pain caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy of the feet. It 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.

Qutenza® is to be given only by your doctor. Zostrix® is available both over-the-counter (OTC) and with your doctor's prescription.

Before using Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy

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.

Pediatric

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

Geriatric

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

Interactions with 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.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

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 Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy

A doctor or other trained healthcare professional will apply the topical Qutenza® patch to the affected area of your body in a medical facility.

During the patch application:

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 into 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:

Do not use any other topical medicine on the same area where you are using capsaicin. Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated skin areas.

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 Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy

If you use the Qutenza® patch:

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

Side Effects of Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy

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

Less common - all forms

Less common - patch only

Incidence not known - patch only

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

Incidence not known - patch only

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.

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

Available Dosage Forms:

Therapeutic Class: Analgesic

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.