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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 30, 2021.


(KAM for)

Index Terms

  • 2-Camphanone
  • Anemone Camphor
  • Campho-Phenique
  • Camphophenique
  • Formosa Camphor
  • Gum Camphor
  • Huile de Camphre
  • Kampfer
  • Laurel Camphor
  • Matricaria Camphor

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product

Cream, External:

JointFlex: 3.1% (114 g) [contains disodium EDTA]

Gel, External:

Band-Aid Anti-Itch: 0.45% (85 g [DSC]) [contains benzyl alcohol, edetic acid, menthol, SD alcohol 40B, trolamine (triethanolamine)]

Benadryl Anti-Itch Childrens: 0.45% (85 g) [contains benzyl alcohol, edetate disodium, menthol, SD alcohol 40B, trolamine (triethanolamine)]

Liquid, Inhalation:

Vicks Vapo Steam: 6.2% (236 mL) [contains alcohol, USP, menthol]

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Band-Aid Anti-Itch [OTC] [DSC]
  • Benadryl Anti-Itch Childrens [OTC]
  • JointFlex [OTC]
  • Vicks Vapo Steam [OTC]

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antitussive
  • Topical Skin Product


Dermal: Slow (Kim 2015)


Vd: 2 to 4 L/kg (Köppel 1988)


Hepatic to inactive metabolites (Kim 2015)


Urine (as metabolites) (Kim 2015)

Time to Peak

3 hours when administered alone; 1 hour when administered with a solvent (Tween 80) (Köppel 1988)

Half-Life Elimination

~3 hours (when administered with a solvent [Tween 80], half-life decreased to ~1.5 hours) (Köppel 1988)

Protein Binding

61% (Köppel 1982)

Use: Labeled Indications


Vick VapoSteam: Temporary relief of cough associated with a cold.


JointFlex: Temporary relief of minor muscle and joint aches and pains associated with arthritis, simple backache, muscle sprains and strains, and bruises.


Benadryl Anti-Itch Gel for Kids: Temporary relief of pain and itching associated with minor burns, sunburn, minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, minor skin irritation, and rashes due to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.


OTC labeling: Joint Flex: When used for self-medication, do not use if skin is irritated or damaged; if excessive irritation develops; in patients ≤12 years of age.

Dosing: Adult

Cough: Inhalation: Inhale via vaporizer up to 3 times per day.

Pain: Topical cream: Apply to affected area up to 4 times per day. For maximum benefit, use daily for at least 2 weeks and continue to use daily as needed thereafter.

Pruritus/Pain: Topical gel: Apply to affected area up to 3 to 4 times per day.

Dosing: Pediatric

Note: Not for oral ingestion; severe, potentially fatal adverse reactions have been reported with ingestion (AAP 1994). Approved ages and uses for products may vary; consult labeling for specific information.

Cough, mild, intermittent: Children ≥2 years and Adolescents: Vaporizer solution (eg, Vicks VapoSteam): Steam inhalation: Dilute in appropriate amount of water and add to vaporizer to inhale up to 3 times daily as needed.

Pain (joint and muscle), minor: Children ≥12 years and Adolescents: Topical cream (eg, JointFlex): Topical: Apply to affected area up to 4 times daily as needed.

Pruritus/pain, minor: Children ≥2 years and Adolescents: Topical gel (eg, Children's Benadryl Itch Soothing Gel): Topical: Apply to affected area 3 to 4 times daily as needed.


Liquid for steam inhalation: Add 15 mL for each 946 mL (quart) of cold water or 7.5 mL for each 473 mL (pint) of cold water; add directly to cold water only in a hot steam vaporizer.


Inhalation: Add solution directly to cold water in a hot steam vaporizer only. Breathe in medicated vapors.


Cream: Cleanse, rinse and dry skin. Apply generously to painful muscles and joints. Gently massage until the cream disappears. Avoid contact with the eyes and mucous membranes.

Do not apply to wounds, damaged, broken or irritated skin. Do not bandage tightly or use a heating pad.

Gel: Avoid contact with the eyes.


Store at room temperature.

Drug Interactions

There are no known significant interactions.

Adverse Reactions

There are no adverse reactions listed in the manufacturer’s labeling.


Special populations:

• Pediatric: The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that camphor be avoided in pediatric patients because of its lack of efficacy and the well-documented toxicity that may occur with use (AAP 1994). Although toxicity most often results from oral ingestion of topical or inhalation products, combined dermal and inhalation exposure has resulted in toxicity (Love 2004).

Dosage form specific issues:

• Liquid for steam inhalation: Self-medication (OTC use): For steam inhalation only. Use with caution in patients with persistent or chronic cough (eg, cough due to smoking, emphysema, or asthma) or a productive cough. Do not heat the product in a microwave or use near an open flame, direct the steam from the vaporizer too close to the face, or ingest the product. Do not add the product to hot water or any container where heating water (except when adding to cold water only in a hot steam vaporizer); may cause splattering and result in burns. Discontinue use and contact a healthcare provider if the cough lasts more than 7 days, recurs, or is accompanied by a fever, rash, or persistent headache.

• Topical cream: Self-medication (OTC use): Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes. Discontinue use and contact a healthcare provider if the condition worsens, symptoms persist for more than 7 days, symptoms recur, or if redness develops.

• Topical gel: Self-medication (OTC use): Avoid contact with eyes. Discontinue use and contact a healthcare provider if the condition worsens, symptoms persist for more than 7 days, or if symptoms recur.

Special handling:

• Flammability: Camphor is flammable; keep away from fire or flame.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Accidental ingestion: In case of accidental ingestion, seek medical help or contact a poison control center immediately.

Pregnancy Considerations

Following exposure to large concentrations (eg, oral ingestion observed with poisonings), camphor crosses the placenta and is toxic to the fetus (Rabl 1997).

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

All skin products:

• It is used to relieve itching and pain from insect bites or skin irritation.

Liquid for breathing in:

• It is used to relieve coughing.

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine’s uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

Further information

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