Brand Name - Zostrix

  • Type of Drug: Local pain reliever.
  • Prescribed for: Temporary relief of pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and neuralgias (nerve pain), such as shingles. It may also be prescribed for pain associated with psoriasis, vitiligo, unbeatable itching, phantom-limb syndrome, and vulvar irritations.

General Information

Capsaicin is a natural substance that seems to work by depleting and preventing the body from rebuilding stores of a chemical called substance P in nerve endings that sense pain. Substance P is thought to be a principal participant in the transmission of painful impulses from the skin to the brain.

Cautions and Warnings

Capsaicin is highly irritating. It must only be applied to the skin. Do not apply it to the eye or allow it to get into your eye after application to your skin. You may want to use an applicator or wear gloves while applying Capsaicin cream.

Do not use for more than 28 days. Call your doctor if your condition gets worse or fails to improve after that time.

Possible Side Effects

Most common: burning, stinging, swelling, cough, and respiratory irritation.

Drug Interactions

Capsaicin may worsen or initiate the cough normally experienced by people taking angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for hypertension.

Food Interactions

None known.

Usual Dose

Apply to affected areas no more than 3 or 4 times per day.


Overdose will cause skin irritation and burning. If Capsaicin cream gets into your eyes, call your local poison control center as soon as possible.

Special Information

Do not tightly bandage areas to which Capsaicin cream has been applied. Use gloves or an applicator to avoid getting this cream in your eyes. Wash your hands thoroughly after each application.

This drug is less sedating than most other antihistamines, but it still may cause some sedation and should not be mixed with alcohol or other nervous-system depressants.

If you forget to apply a dose of Capsaicin, apply it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next regularly scheduled dose, skip the one you forgot and continue with your regular schedule. Do not apply a double dose.

Special Populations

There is no known effect of this product on pregnant women or nursing mothers. Exercise caution with ail medicines.

Seniors may use this medicine without special restriction.