Skip to Content
Home > Health Information > Health Library > 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.
Current as of:
April 1, 2019
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
See important information from Billings Clinic on Non-discrimination and Interpreter Services.
Billings Clinic is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action (EOE/AA) e-verify employer.