menthol topical

Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2022

Generic Name: menthol topical

Brand Names: Bengay Cold Therapy, Icy Hot Naturals, Icy Hot Advanced Relief Patch, Salonsip Gel Patch, Aspercreme Heat Pain Relieving Gel, Aspercreme Max, Bengay Zero Degrees, Mentholatum Sports Pain Relief Cold, Gold Bond Foot Powder

Drug Class: Analgesics, Topical

What is menthol topical, and what is it used for?

Menthol is a medication topically applied for temporary relief from minor joint or muscle pain. Menthol is a substance found naturally in peppermint, also produced synthetically in laboratories for use as an ingredient in much of topical pain relief (analgesic) creams, gels, ointments, solutions, sprays, and skin patches. Menthol products are available over the counter (OTC).

Menthol reduces pain by counterirritation of nerve endings under the skin. Menthol initially stimulates the nerve endings, but continued exposure desensitizes the nerve endings and decreases pain sensitivity. Menthol works by stimulating transient receptor potential melastatin-8 (TRPM8) receptor, a protein on nerve cells (neurons) that detects the sensation of cold.

Menthol topical is used for temporary analgesia in conditions that include:


  • Do not use menthol topical if you are hypersensitive to any of the components in the menthol product.
  • Do not use in children below 12 years of age.
  • Do not apply on wounds or damaged skin.
  • Do not cover tightly with a bandage.
  • Do not apply external heat, including a heat pad, after topical application.
  • Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.
  • Stop using menthol and consult with your physician if
    • Your condition worsens
    • Symptoms persist for more than 7 days or clear up and reoccur within a few days
    • Redness of the skin occurs
    • You develop skin irritation

What are the side effects of menthol topical?

Common side effects of menthol topical include:

  • Application site reactions such as:
    • Redness (erythema)
    • Warmth
    • Irritation
    • Stinging or burning sensation
    • Tingling
  • Hypersensitivity reactions

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Medically speaking, the term "myalgia" refers to what type of pain? See Answer

What are the dosages of menthol topical?

Topical Gel

  • 2.5%
  • 5%
  • 7%
  • 10%
  • 16%

Topical Cream

  • 7.5%
  • 16%

Topical Solution

  • 16%

Topical Spray

  • 16%

Transdermal Patch

  • 1.25%
  • 5%
  • 7.5%
  • 16%

Topical Powder

  • 1%


Analgesia for Minor Muscle/Joint Pain

  • Apply liberal amounts of cream/gel topically to the affected area and massage
  • Apply patch to the affected area every 12 hours


  • Safety and efficacy not established


What drugs interact with menthol topical?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

  • Menthol topical has no listed severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other drugs.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • Animal reproductive studies do not show evidence of fetal harm from topical menthol use during pregnancy, however, there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before using menthol topical if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What else should I know about menthol topical?

  • Use menthol topical exactly as per label directions.
  • Menthol topical is for external use only.
  • Menthol is inflammable, keep away from flame and fire.
  • Store safely away from the reach of children.
  • In case of inhalation or oral ingestion of menthol topical, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.


Menthol is a medication topically applied for temporary relief from minor joint or muscle pain. Menthol can be used to treat bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis, backache, muscle strains, muscle sprains, cramps, and bruises. Common side effects of menthol topical include redness (erythema), warmth, irritation, stinging or burning sensation, tingling, and hypersensitivity reactions. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2022