Menthol/methyl salicylate (On the skin)


Menthol (MEN-thol), Methyl Salicylate (METH-il sa-LIS-i-late)

Treats pain. This medicine is a topical analgesic.

Brand Name(s)

Pain Bust-R II Extra Strength, Icy Hot, Rite Aid Cool Heat, Thera-Gesic Extra Strength, Thera-Gesic, Thera-Gesic Plus, Pain Relieving Rub, Good Neighbor Pharmacy Muscle Rub, Muscle Rub X/S, Muscle Rub, Bengay Greaseless, Golden Sunshine Herbal, Golden Sunshine Natural Herbal Pain Terminator, Flexall 454 Maximum Strength, Banalg Hospital Strength

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to menthol, methyl salicylate, or wintergreen.

How to Use This Medicine

Cream, Gel/Jelly, Lotion, Ointment

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to apply and how often. Do not use more medicine or apply it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • If you are using this medicine without a prescription, follow the instructions on the medicine label.
  • This medicine is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not use it on skin areas that have cuts or scrapes. If it does get on these areas, rinse it off right away. Do not swallow the medicine.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Apply a thin layer to the affected area. Rub it in gently.
  • Do not use this medicine more than 4 times each day.
  • Do not cover the treated area with a bandage unless your doctor has told you to. Do not cover the skin with a heating pad.
  • Do not use this medicine right after you take a shower or bath.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, apply it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to apply the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to aspirin or another salicylate medicine.
  • Do not use this medicine on a child younger than 12 years of age unless a doctor tells you to.
  • Stop using this medicine if your skin becomes red or irritated.
  • Call your doctor if the pain gets worse, lasts longer than 7 days, or gets better and then comes back.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Red, itchy, sore, or painful skin.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

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