OTC Transdermal Analgesic Patches in Pain Management

Donna M. Lisi, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, BCGP, BCACP


US Pharmacist. 2019;44(3):15-21. 

In This Article

Combination Methyl Salicylate and Menthol

There are very limited published clinical data on the use of MS in conjunction with menthol, despite the widespread use of this analgesic combination. In a placebo-controlled trial, an occlusive topical patch containing 10% MS and 3% l-menthol (Salonpas/Hisamitsu America) was found to produce significantly greater pain relief (40%) after initial application compared with placebo in adults with mild-to-moderate muscle strain. Pain relief was present during the 8 hours in which the patch was in contact with the skin; after removal of the patch, pain control dissipated. Salonpas patches are the first and only topically applied medication to receive FDA approval for the temporary relief of mild-to-moderate aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with arthritis, back pain, strains, bruises, and sprains.[14] Side effects in the active treatment group were comparable with those seen in patients who had received the placebo patch.[46]