[Skip to content]

Print this page

10.3 Rubifacients and other topic antirheumatics

PrescQIPP: Rubefacients for the treatment of soft-tissue disorders and topical pain relief (DROP-List)

10.3.2 Rubifacients and other topical antirheumatics

Ibuprofen gel
Capsaicin cream 0.025% - Topical capsaicin 0.025% can be considered as an adjunct after NSAIDs (topical or oral) with or without paracetamol for use in osteoarthritis as per NICE CG177. 
Capsaicin cream 0.075% (for post-herpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy under specialist management)
Capsaicin patch (Qutenza). Specialist use in Pain Clinic only (RED drug), for peripheral neuropathic pain unresponsive to standard therapies.
Transvasin cream – to be used for pulse oximetry ONLY (unlicensed use). NOT for use as a topical rubefacient (BLACK listed by JAPC)


1. There is a marked placebo response seen with topical NSAIDs and although more effective than placebo no comparisons with alternatives such as paracetamol rubefacients, rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) have been published.

2. All topical rubefacients are BLACK listed in the local Traffic Light Classification


For link to BNF section: 10.3 Drugs for the relief of soft-tissue inflammation