What are the various topical formulations available for the treatment of pain?
Topical pain medications can be taken as both a prescription and nonprescription (e.g., over-the-counter [OTC]) drugs. Prescription topical pain preparations are administered as a patch or a cream. For example, the lidocaine patch has an adhesive material containing the active ingredient applied to a polyester felt backing that is covered with a release liner, which is removed before applying to the skin. Current prescription topical medications include the Lidoderm patch, EMLA cream, the 8% capsaicin patch, diclofenac sodium gel patch and solution, and doxepin cream. Current OTC topical formulations include lidocaine creams, benzocaine creams, menthol creams, gels, and patches, as well as combination products that can combine menthol, camphor, salicylate, and capsaicin.