Zostrix Topical Analgesic Cream is a topical analgesic cream made from purified capsaicin, a natural extract from chili peppers. Capsaicin is believed to act on a substance in the body which is involved in transmission of pain impulses, known as Substance P.
It is believed that regular application of capsaicin (Zostrix) to the affected area will in time reduce the amount of Substance P in nearby nerve endings. With less of Substance P present, pain may be less intense and in some cases there may be a cessation of pain.
There are many topical analgesic creams available to help relieve pain, derived from the humble chili, most are in the form of capsicum. Capsicum can be found in products such as heat rubs (rubefacients).
Capsaicin is also derived from chili peppers, and when purified works at a pharmacological level. Purified capsaicin is the active ingredient in Zostrix.
It is important to not confuse purified capsaicin with other chili extracts, as they work in different ways and have different effects.
Capsaicin appears to block pain transmission by reducing the availability of Substance P in the affected area, Substance P is one of the bodys principal "pain messengers".
By depleting Substance P, the pain decreases gradually - a process that will take time to achieve full effect. Pain decreases gradually with continued, cumulative depletion of Substance P over a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
- May be useful as an adjunct in the temporary relief of pain associated with arthritis.
- May be useful for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia (pain following shingles).
1. Apply Zostrix 3 to 4 times a day, every day.
Apply just enough to cover the affected area (a small fingertip is usually enough).
2. Massage Zostrix cream into the skin on the front, back and sides of the affected area until no residue remains.
3. Unless treating hands, always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after the application and avoid contact with sensitive areas, such as eyes.
Wash hands immediately after application (unless treating hands), and:
- Do not apply Zostrix to broken, open or irritated skin.
- Do not apply heat pads or have a hot shower immediately after application.
- Avoid bandaging the area following application.
- Avoid touching the eyes, mouth or other sensitive areas.
For best results, little and often is the rule to follow.
Application of Zostrix sometimes causes a burning sensation.
The heat, discomfort or burning sensation experienced by some patients upon application is related to the way Zostrix works. Do not be concerned. This sensation is thought to be related to the initial release of Substance P and discomfort generally diminishes after the first few days of continued use. Remember, Zostrix works gradually so pain relief may take up to 4-6 weeks.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your pharmacist or your Healthcare Professional.
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