What is methyl salicylate and menthol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Menthol/methylsalicylate is used as a

topical analgesic. It works by first cooling the skin then warming it up, providing a topical anesthetic and analgesic action on the affected area. The cooling and warning action may interfere with transmission of pain signals through nerves.

What brand names are available for methyl salicylate and menthol?

Bengay, Icy Hot, Mentholatum D, Salonpas

Is methyl salicylate and menthol available as a generic drug?

Yes

Do I need a prescription for methyl salicylate and menthol?

No

What are the uses for methyl salicylate and menthol?

Menthol and methylsalicylate are used for minor aches and joint and muscle pain due to backache, arthritis, strains, sprains, and bruises.

What are the side effects of methyl salicylate and menthol?

Side effects of menthol/methylsalicylate are:

  • stinging,
  • burning,
  • hypersensitivity,
  • redness, and
  • tingling sensation of skin.

Although the likelihood is low these products may increase the risk of bleeding in individuals who have ulcers, elderly, are taking NSAIDs (for example ibuprofen), steroids, drink more than 3 drinks a day, or have other risks for stomach bleeding.

QUESTION

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

What is the dosage for methyl salicylate and menthol?

Adults and children 12 years of age and older (Cream, balm, spray, stick, spray, balm, and foam): Apply liberally to affected area up to 3 to 4 times daily. Do not use on open wound or damaged skin. Do not use with a heating pad.

Children under 12 years of age: Consult a doctor.

For those 18 years and over, one patch should be placed on the affected area for 8 to 12 hours. A second patch may be added after removing the first one if pain continues. Do not use for more than 2 patches a day or for more than 3 days in a row.

Which drugs or supplements interact with methyl salicylate and menthol?

Menthol/methylsalicylate topical products should be used with caution with blood thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin), nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and steroids due to increased likelihood of bruising and bleeding resulting from methylsalicylate which acts like aspirin and can affect blood clotting.

Is methyl salicylate and menthol safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies done on menthol and methylsalicylate to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

It is not known whether menthol and methylsalicylate enters breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers.

What else should I know about methyl salicylate and menthol?

What preparations of methyl salicylate and menthol are available?

Menthol/methylsalicylate topical products are available in cream, balm, spray, stick, patch, and foam.

How should I keep methyl salicylate and menthol stored?

Menthol/methylsalicylate creams and patch are stored between 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F). Balms are stored between 15 C to 30 C (59F to 86 F). Sprays, sticks, and foams should be stored away from heat and direct sunlight.

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Summary

Menthol and methylsalicylate (Bengay, Icy Hot, Mentholatum D, Salonpas) is a medication used to treatment of minor aches and joint pain due to arthritis, sprains, strains, bruises, and backaches. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and dosage information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Prevention & Wellness

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Medically Reviewed on 7/9/2019
References
Menthol, methylsalicylate – Prescribing Information.

MedscapeReference.com. Menthol, methylsalicylate.
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