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Vicks VapoRub

Generic name: camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol topicalKAM-for, ue-ka-LIP-tus, and-MEN-thol-TOP-i-cal ]
Brand names: Avedana Medicated Chest Rub, Mentholatum Greaseless Vaporizing, Vicks VapoRub
Drug class: Topical rubefacient

Medically reviewed by on Feb 12, 2024. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Vicks VapoRub?

Vicks VapoRub is a combination product that is applied to the skin.

When applied to the chest, inhaling the vapors of this product may provide temporary relief of cough caused by irritation of the throat or lungs.

When applied to other areas of the body, this product is used for temporary relief of minor muscle or joint pain.

Vicks VapoRub may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Vicks VapoRub side effects

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

Less serious side effects may be more likely, and you may have none at all.

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.


Follow all directions on the label and package. Use exactly as directed.

Before taking this medicine

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if Vicks VapoRub is safe to use if you have:

Do not use this medicine on a child younger than 2 years old.

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Avoid breastfeeding a baby while using this product on your chest.

How should I use Vicks VapoRub?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not apply to broken skin or an open wound.

This product can cause a mild cooling or burning sensation wherever it is applied. If this sensation is painful or causes severe discomfort, wash the treated skin area with soap and cool water.

Do not heat the product before use or it may cause burns.

To relieve cough, apply a thick layer of this product to the chest and throat up to 3 times per day. Do not use in your nose or mouth. To make the vapors easier to breathe in, keep the treated areas uncovered or covered only with loose clothing.

To relieve muscle or joint pain, apply this product to the affected area 3 or 4 times per day.

You may cover treated skin areas with a warm and dry cloth. Applying heat may worsen the sensation of cooling or burning. Do not apply a tight bandage over treated skin.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days, or if you have a fever, rash, or headaches.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol is used when needed, it does not have a dosing schedule. Do not use the product more often than directed on the label.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this product is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the product.

What should I avoid while using Vicks VapoRub?

Do not get this product in your eyes. If contact does occur, rinse with water.

What other drugs will affect Vicks VapoRub?

Medicine used on the skin is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use, but many drugs can interact. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

More about Vicks VapoRub (camphor / eucalyptus / menthol topical)

Patient resources

Other brands

Avedana Medicated Chest Rub

Related treatment guides

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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