FM/CFS/ME RESOURCES - Drug Database - Capsaicin

 

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Drug Database - Capsaicin Capsaicin Cream

Generic Name: none

Brand Names: Capsaicin®, Capzasin-P®
Icy Hot®, Rid-a-Pain®, Zostrix®

Classification: Topical Pain Relievers

Issue Date: 1995

Capsaicin® is used to help relieve pain in the muscle or joints. It is also used for different types of nerve pain, such as pain due to nerve problems in people with diabetes. Capsaicin skin preparations are available from many different manufacturers.

  • Before Using This Medicine
  • How To Use This Medicine
  • Precautions While on this Medicine
  • Side Effects
  • If You Miss A Dose
  • Drug Interactions
  • Divider
    Before Using This Medicine

    Do not use a product like this if you have any of the following:

    • broken skin
    • irritated skin
    • an unusual or allergic reaction to capsaicin, hot peppers, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
    • breast-feeding
    • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

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    How To Use This Medicine

    Follow the directions on the label. Capsaicin should be used 3 to 4 times per day. Less frequent use will decrease the effect of capsaicin. Rub the cream or gel into the painful area until there is little or no visible cream (or gel) left on the skin surface. Unless you are using capsaicin for arthritis of the hands, you should wash your hands after you apply the cream or gel. If you are using capsaicin for arthritis of the hands, do not wash your hands for at least 30 minutes after using this medicine.

    • Wear gloves when applying capsaicin cream
    • Do not apply it immediately after a hot bath or shower or use it with a heating pad
    • Avoid getting capsaicin cream in eyes and other mucus membranes or broken skin
    • The safety of capsaicin cream in pregnant or nursing women hasn't been established

    Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

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    Precautions While on this Medicine

    Do not use a product like this if you have any of the following:

    • broken skin
    • irritated skin
    • an unusual or allergic reaction to capsaicin, hot peppers, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
    • breast-feeding
    • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

    A Note of Caution - At least one article in the scientific literature indicates that there have been no large scale studies of long term effects of capsaicin in the digestive tract of patients whose health has been compromised by surgery or long term neuropathy. An article summarized in Science/Health Abstracts Vol. 5, No. 3, indicates that capsaicin can have significant toxic effects within the body.

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    If You Miss A Dose

    If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

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    Side Effects

    Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

    • breakdown of your skin
    • cough

    Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

    • burning or stinging of skin at site of application
    • warm sensation at site of application

    Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

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    Drug Interactions

    Capsaicin is made from cayenne peppers. If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use cayenne preparations without first talking to your health care provider.


    ACE Inhibitors

    Using capsaicin cream on the skin may increase the risk of cough associated with ACE inhibitors. People who take ACE inhibitors should talk to their doctor before taking cayenne. These are medications used to regulate blood pressure, including:

    • captopril
    • enalapril
    • lisinopril

    Stomach Acid Reducers

    Capsaicin can cause an increase in stomach acid, lessening the effect of drugs such as:

    • cimetidine (Tagamet)
    • famotidine (Pepcid)
    • ranitidine (Zantac)
    • omeprazole (Prilosec)
    • esomeprazole (Nexium)
    • Maalox
    • Rolaids
    • Tums
    • nonprescription versions of Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, and Prilosec

    Aspirin

    Capsaicin may decrease the effectiveness of aspirin to relieve pain, and may increase the risk of bleeding associated with aspirin.


    Blood-Thinning Medications and Herbs

    Capsaicin may increase the risk of bleeding associated with certain blood-thinning medications & herbs such as:

    • warfarin
    • heparin
    • ginkgo
    • ginger
    • ginseng

    Theophylline

    Regular use of cayenne may increase the absorption of theophylline, a medication used to treat asthma, to toxic levels.

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    Source:

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