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Scapa Healthcare
/ 26 May, 2022
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Benefits of Over-The-Counter Topical Pain Relievers

People who must live with acute and chronic pain originating from injuries, ailments, and other conditions are increasingly looking to topical pain relievers—many of which are available over the counter (OTC) —to provide safe, fast, and effective relief. These over-the-counter pain relief products are applied directly to the skin and come in gels, creams, foams, sprays, and patches.[1] They are typically rubbed onto the skin or made into patches/plasters attached to the skin.[2] An increasing number of studies show that those with painful conditions find relief with a topical route.[3] 

OTC topical pain relievers also known as OTC external analgesics are effective based on their targeted approach near the skin's surface. Some topical analgesics include counterirritants such as capsaicinoids, which act as a "distraction" for pain signals. Other topicals include menthol, and methyl salicylate that create a cooling sensation when applied to the surface of the skin. Some may also include topical anesthetics like lidocaine; as well as topical steroids.

How Does Topical Pain Relief Work?
Topical pain relief products are designed to provide quick, effective, and worry-free relief from pain.[4] For a topical pain relief formulation to be effective, it must pass through the skin. Individual products have different degrees of penetration, and some add substances that improve skin penetration and result in greater drug concentrations in tissues.

Advantages of Topical Analgesics

  • Less Adverse Effects: Topical treatments target only those areas where there is pain, so there are fewer adverse effects.[1]
  • No Drug Tolerance: Topical pain relief can escape drug tolerance effects (this means that it will take greater dosages over time to achieve the same results[2] ) because they employ a targeted, specialized approach that avoids the circulatory system.  
  • Over the Counter Availability: Topical pain relief creams are available over the counter and may offer quick relief without a prescription.
  • Convenient: Topical pain relief products are available in a wide variety of formulations and are easy to find in many locations. 

Scapa Healthcare works closely with our customers to meet their OTC topical treatment needs for the development of topical analgesics, pain relief lidocaine creams, anti-itch hydrocortisone creams, antifungal ointments and powders, and antibacterial/antimicrobial products. In addition, we have an in-depth understanding of custom topical skincare formulations and can support our customers' product development needs from concept to commercialization. To learn more about Scapa Healthcare's topical treatment products,  contact us directly at [email protected].

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