Does capsaicin have side effects?

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Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Capsaicin (Capzasin-P, Zostrix, Icy Hot PM) is generally safe when used as directed, but some people may have side effects from it. Some burning and itching on the skin above the painful joint is normal when you first start to use it. If the burning sensation is too uncomfortable--like if you think you put adobo sauce on by mistake -- just wash it off with soap and warm water. It causes real problems if it gets into your eyes or in cuts. Use gloves when applying.

Allergic reactions are also possible, as with any cream or medication. The allergic reactions typically cause severe burning or blistering of the skin. If this happens to you, wash the area with warm water and soap and immediately call your doctor.

In rare cases, severe allergic reactions can cause skin rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing, tightness in the chest, or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.