Zostrix is an over-the-counter topical pain relief cream used to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. It contains capsaicin, a natural substance found in chili peppers. Capsaicin works by temporarily blocking pain signals to the brain, providing relief from minor aches and pains of the muscles and joints such as arthritis, backache, and sprains.
Zostrix cream reduces pain by decreasing the levels of substance P, a chemical involved in transmitting pain sensations to the brain. Substance P is released into joints and activates other compounds involved in osteoarthritis, but when Zostrix cream is applied to the skin, it reduces the amount of substance P, resulting in pain relief.
Uses and Dosage
You should apply Zostrix Cream only on the skin, following all directions on the product package. Before using Zostrix cream, be sure to read the label and follow the instructions carefully. You should also consult with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure that Zostrix cream is the right treatment for your specific condition.
To use the cream, apply a thin layer of the medication to the affected area and rub it in gently and thoroughly. You may use a cotton ball or latex glove to avoid touching the medication with your hands. Avoid applying the cream to the eyes, mouth, nostrils, or genitals, and do not apply it to irritated or injured skin.
Avoid activities like bathing, swimming, sunbathing, or heavy exercise immediately before or after applying the medication. Do not wrap the affected area or use a heating pad on the area.
After application, wash your hands (unless treating hands). Use Zostrix Cream regularly at the same times each day for the best results. It may take up to 2 months to work, and if your condition persists, worsens, or keeps returning, talk to your doctor.
If you suspect a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
Common Side Effects of Zostrix (Capsaicin – non-Rx):
- Application site redness
- Fluid retention (edema)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Skin bumps
- Temporary increased pain at application site (dissipates with continued use)
Serious Side Effects of Zostrix (Capsaicin – non-Rx):
- Changes in taste
- Skin odor
Form and Strength
Zostrix (Capsaicin – non-Rx) is available in the following forms and strength:
Possible cautions for using Zostrix cream may include:
- Do not apply it to open wounds or broken skin.
- Do not apply it near the eyes, mouth, nose, or other sensitive areas.
- Wash hands thoroughly after applying the cream.
- Do not bandage or wrap the area after application.
- Do not apply heat to the area after application as this could increase the risk of side effects.
- Do not use the cream on children under the age of 18 unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider.
- If the pain worsens, or if new symptoms develop during treatment, discontinue use, and consult a healthcare provider.
- Some people may experience a burning sensation or redness at the site of application, but these side effects usually go away after a few days of use.
- Do not apply the cream to skin that is sunburned or during a fever.
- Do not use the cream if you are allergic to capsaicin or any other ingredients in the product.
- Avoid getting the cream on clothing or other fabric, as it may cause staining.
- The cream may take several days or weeks to work, and the pain relief may be temporary.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult a healthcare provider before using the cream to ensure it is safe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long does it take for Zostrix to work?
The cream may take several days or weeks to work, and the pain relief may be temporary.
Is Zostrix safe?
Zostrix is generally safe when used as directed. However, it may cause some side effects such as a burning sensation or redness at the site of application.
How often can I use Zostrix?
The label instructions may vary depending on the strength of the cream. Generally, Zostrix can be applied up to four times per day.
Is Zostrix addictive?
Zostrix is not addictive because it does not contain any addictive substances.
Can I use Zostrix on my face?
No, Zostrix should not be used on the face or other sensitive areas.
How long does it take for Zostrix to wear off?
The cream may provide temporary pain relief, but the duration of the effect may vary depending on the individual and the severity of the pain.