FDA Says Topical Pain Relievers Cause Serious Skin Burns

Over the years the FDA received over 40 reports of skin injuries and burns caused by topical pain relievers. As a result the FDA announced there is a risk topical pain relievers could cause serious skin burns.

Name your poison! I bet there’s at least one topical pain reliever for muscle and joint aches from creams to lotions and ointments in your drawer. This is a market that will never crash, as people will always search relief for their pain, whether it’s morphine or Icy Hot. But the FDA warns there might be a chance of immediate and serious skin burns following the use of topical pain relievers.

On the overall, pain relievers generated $11 billion in revenue last year. By 2014 this is a market expected to pass the $57.2 billion mark. There’s nothing we won’t buy to make sure the pain goes away.

So whether it is Johnson & Johnson’s Bengay or Icy Hot from Sanofi, or even Mentholatum, Capzasin and Flexall, some people reported first to third degree skin burns after using these topical pain relievers. The ingredients in these products, as “innocent” as they might look on the label, are in fact able to cause severe burns in some people.

From 1969 to 2011, the FDA received 43 reports of serious skin burns caused by topical pain relievers. And these are only the cases that were reported. Since the regulations don’t commit muscle and joint pain relievers’ producers to put a burns warning on the label, the FDA issued a warning.

“These products should not cause pain or skin damage. However, there have been rare cases of serious burns following their use” reads a statement from the FDA. Apparently some skin burns were so serious the patient had to be hospitalized.

Topical pain relievers usually contain menthol, methyl salicylate or capsaicin. According to the FDA when such a pain reliever contains more than 3 percent menthol and 10 percent methyl salicylate chances are you’re going to get yourself a severe skin burn.

To limit the possibility of enduring through burning pain or blistering when using topical pain relievers make sure you check the expiration date and consult with a medical professional. The skin you are applying the topical pain reliever must be intact..

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Eli Wads is one of our expert authors in technology and business fields.Currently living in San Marino, Eli has graduated at Southwestern Academy with a Bachelor Degree in business in 2008. Contact him by dropping him an e-mail at

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