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capsaicin (zostrix)

available over the counter: no

uses: treatment of neuralgia (this cream is used for painful in the nerve endings in the skin associated with shingles, which is caused by infection with varicella zoster virus); also used for pain associated with arthritis, diabetic neuropathy and post operative pain

mechanism of action: reduces substance P (a natural substance in the body) which is involved in the release of enzymes which produce inflammation, and the transmission of pain impulses to the central nervous system

side effects
• common: burning locally when cream applied
• less common: skin redness, coughing, sneezing
• serious: none

concerns: do not use if you are allergic to hot peppers (it is made from hot peppers); after applying the cream, avoid contact with children and pets until you have thoroughly washed your hands

 

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