Arthritis cream

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

There are a number of arthritis creams available.

Most have a capsaicin component. Capsaicin is the ingredient in hot peppers that causes the spiciness. Capsaicin opens up small blood vessels leading to increased blood flow to the area. In addition there is some evidence that capsaicin blocks the effect of substance P, a chemical transmitter that produces pain.

Some topical agents also contain menthol or eucalyptus- these ingredients cause the cream to smell good.

Other types of creams contain anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, or ketoprofen. Generally, topical agents that contain anti-inflammatory agents are available without prescription in most instances.

There are two topicals that require prescription. They are Voltaren Gel and Pennsaid. The gel is... well, a gel. Pennsaid comes in drops. Both use diclofenac as their active ingredient. They are effective and safer than oral non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs.

One topical agent, Blue Relief, contains a special form of emu oil and aloe which are anti-inflammatory and soothing. This is a very popular salve with my patients. You may purchase Blue Relief by going to our online store at and click on the "Store" tab.

Recently, some manufacturers have added substances such as MSM and glucosamine. There is no data indicating these added ingredients do any more than lighten your pocketbook.

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