Topical Analgesics

Topical Analgesics

Topical analgesics are medications that are applied to the skin or to a mucous membranes (vagina, anus, throat, eyes, ears) to relieve pain. Topical analgesics can also be inhaled (asthma medications).

 

Many topical analgesics are available OTC in spray, lotion, cream, gel, ointment, patch and medicated wipe form.

 

These are the most common active ingredients in topical pain relievers and how they work:

 

  • Benzocaine – Numbing action reducing itching, burning, and pain on skin
  • Camphor – Cooling action reducing itching, burning, and pain on skin, as well as joint and muscle aches
  • Capsaicin – Warming action reducing joint and muscle aches
  • Diphenhydramine – Reduces itching and redness on skin
  • Hydrocortisone – Reduces itching and redness on skin
  • Lidocaine – Numbing action reducing itching, burning, and pain on skin
  • Menthol – Cooling action reducing itching, burning, and pain on skin, as well as joint and muscle aches
  • Methyl salicylate – Relieves joint and muscle aches
  • Pramoxine – Numbing action reducing itching, burning, and pain on skin
  • Trolamine salicylate – Relieves joint and muscle aches

 

Those using topical analgesics should read labels carefully to learn how much to use and most important, where a particular medication can safely be applied.