Credits: The London Free Press / QMI AGENCY
In a statement released Thursday, an FDA chemist said chemical burns have occurred after the use of over-the-counter topical muscle and joint pain relievers containing the active ingredients menthol, methyl salicylate and capsaicin, which produce a sensation of warmth or coolness on the applied area. Brand names include Icy Hot, Bengay, Mentholatum, Capzasin and Flexall (the latter two available in Canada only through online pharmacies).
In many cases, consumers experienced burns and blistering within 24 hours of one application. Some had complications serious enough to require hospitalization, the FDA said in its statement.
The 43 reported cases are "a very small number...when compared to the number of people who purchase these products," the FDA said. However, "there is no way to predict who will have this kind of reaction."
Anyone who sees signs of burning and blistering after using the products should seek medical attention immediately, the FDA said.