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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin is a substance found in hot chili peppers. When applied to the skin over the affected area, medicines containing capsaicin may be used as pain relievers for rheumatoid arthritis, postherpetic neuralgia, and other conditions.

When applied to the skin, capsaicin affects the skin's nerve impulses, blocking the pain without blocking other sensations. Its use should be directed by a doctor. It may take several weeks to feel the effects of capsaicin.

Some people can't tolerate capsaicin, which may cause burning, stinging, or redness of the skin. Capsaicin can cause extreme pain if applied to an open rash or if it gets in the eyes.