Capsaicin Brand Names

Arthricare for Women | Capzasin-HP | Capzasin-P | Castiva Warming | Qutenza | Zostrix

What is Capsaicin

Capsaicin is an external analgesic. As the major pungent ingredient of hot chile peppers and other botanicals, capsicum preparations (e.g., capsaicin, capsicum, and capsicum oleoresin) can be derived from the fruit of various species of plants of the Solanaceae (i.e., nightshade) family or synthetically.

Capsaicin 0.025%, 0.075%, and 0.25% creams and/or transdermal patches are available over-the-counter for the temporary relief of pain from arthritis, myalgias, arthralgias, and neuralgias.

In the treatment of osteoarthritis, topical capsaicin is considered a second-line agent either alone or as an adjunct to acetaminophen or aspirin therapy.

The FDA has granted capsaicin orphan drug status in the treatment of post herpetic neuralgia, intermetatarsal neuroma, erythromelalgia, and HIV-associated neuropathy.

When used in the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia, a single treatment with the capsaicin 8% patch provided a pain intensity decrease of >= 30% for > 35% of treated patients in weeks 1 through 12; the average pain intensity decrease from baseline was 29% (+/- 2%) at the 8 week follow-up visit.

The FDA approved the Rx-only capsaicin 8% patch (Qutenza) for the management of neuropathic pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) in November 2009; the manufacturer plans a U.S. product launch in the first half of 2010.


  1. arthralgia
  2. diabetic neuropathy
  3. mild pain
  4. moderate pain
  5. myalgia
  6. neuropathic pain
  7. osteoarthritis
  8. postherpetic neuralgia
  9. rheumatoid arthritis

Side Effects

  1. burns
  2. contact dermatitis
  3. cough
  4. dizziness
  5. drug-induced body odor
  6. dysgeusia
  7. ecchymosis
  8. edema
  9. erythema
  10. headache
  11. hyperesthesia
  12. hypertension
  13. hypoesthesia
  14. maculopapular rash
  15. nasal irritation
  16. nausea
  17. paresthesias
  18. peripheral edema
  19. peripheral neuropathy
  20. pharyngitis
  21. pruritus
  22. sinusitis
  23. skin irritation
  24. sneezing
  25. throat irritation
  26. urticaria
  27. vomiting
  28. xerosis

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary


  • accidental exposure
  • breast-feeding
  • children
  • heating pad
  • hypertension
  • infants
  • infection
  • inflammation
  • myocardial infarction
  • neonates
  • ocular exposure
  • pregnancy
  • skin abrasion
  • strenuous exercise
  • stroke
  • sunlight (UV) exposure


There are no drug interactions associated with Capsaicin products.


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