What is the history of topical medications as analgesics?
For centuries, topical analgesics have been used to treat various medical conditions and pain. One of the most famous books in the history of medicine, Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine , originally published in 1025, provides an extensive list of substances to treat headache. Most of these substances included topical analgesics derived from plants, animals, and minerals. There are topical formulations of plant-derived products created centuries ago that are still used today, including camphor, capsaicin, and menthol. Topical medications for pain have had a critical role in alleviating painful syndromes and will continue to do so as we learn more about their underlying mechanisms and uses.