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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to consumers about serious skin reactions to pain relief gels, creams, patches and rubs, such as Sanofi’s Icy Hot, J&J’s Bengay, Capzasin, Flexall, and Mentholatum, according to Reuters. The government watchdog agency has received more than 40 reports of burns to the skin in the years since the products have been marketed.

The Washington Post recently noted that while the reports of burning and itching skin reactions are rare, some of the skin reactions reported have been serious first- to third-degree chemical burns and have required hospitalizations.

The over-the-counter pain relief products, which may contain menthol, methyl salicylate or capsaicin, are marketed to provide quick relief of muscle soreness and should not cause marked skin reactions following their use. Present FDA guidelines do not require these products to have warnings on their labels about burns to the skin.

The FDA recommends consumers discontinue use of these pain relief products if any sign of skin injury, including pain, swelling or blistering, appears and requests that physicians instruct patients on the appropriate use of the cream, ointment, patch or gel pain relievers that contain any of the aforementioned ingredients.

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