Capsaicin is an external analgesic available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that temporarily relieve minor aches and pains associated with arthritis, simple backache, strains and sprains, and bruises. Capsaicin is also the chemical that makes chili peppers taste hot. When used as an active ingredient in topical pain relief medicines, capsaicin produces a warming sensation in the treated area. Capsaicin can be found in single-and multi-ingredient topical pain relievers.
Capsaicin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to label directions. After applying a topical pain reliever containing capsaicin, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If you are using the medicine to treat hand pain, you should wash your hands after 30 minutes.