SAFETY ALERT: Serious Burns with OTC Topical Pain Relievers

The FDA is alerting the public that certain over-the-counter (OTC) products that are applied to the skin for relief of mild muscle and joint pain have been reported to cause rare causes of serious skin injuries, ranging from first- to third-degree chemical burns where applied. A local sensation of warmth or coolness should be produced when applied to the skin, not any pain or skin damage.  However, rare cases of serious burns (some requiring hospitalization) following their use have been reported.  

OTC topical muscle and joint pain relievers are available as single- or combination-ingredient products that contain menthol, methyl salicylate, or capsaicin, and are marketed under various brand names (eg, Bengay, Capzasin, Flexall, Icy Hot, and Mentholatum). They come in various formulations including creams, lotions, ointments, and patches.

Consumers who experience signs of skin injury upon product application are recommended to stop using it and seek medical attention immediately.  

For more information visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm319353.htm.