FDA Warns That Bengay, Icy Hot Can Cause Burns

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just issued a warning that Johnson & Johnson’s Bengay and Sanofi’s Icy Hot topical pain killers can cause burns. Both creams can be purchased over the counter (OTC) with no prescription.

To date, said Bloomberg Businessweek, the pain relievers, which come in cream, lotion, and patch formats, have been linked to 43 reports of burns to consumers, according to the FDA in a safety announcement. The cases were found in a search of the regulator’s Adverse Event Reporting System and medical literature.

Most of the burns involved Bengay and Icy Hot, which contain either menthol as the single active ingredient or which contain both menthol and methyl salicylate, the agency noted. A few cases, said the regulator, involved a capsaicin-containing product.

The Huffington Post pointed out that the topical pain reliever, Flexall, was among the named products, noting that that the reported chemical burns are considered rare. The burns ranged in severity from first- to third-degree burns; some patients needed hospitalization, according to the FDA.

The FDA warned patients who experience pain, swelling, or skin blistering to stop using the product, said Bloomberg Businessweek. “When applied to the skin, the products produce a local sensation of warmth or coolness; they should not cause pain or skin damage,” the FDA’s announcement stated.

Physicians should explain to patients about the proper use of products such as Bengay, Icy Hot, and Flexall, said The Huffington Post. The FDA also warned that the products should not e used with a heating pad and the area being treated should not be bandaged, said The Associated Press.

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