Do you feel a tingling in your hands or feet? Are your feet numb? This could be due to neuropathy. Neuropathy happens when your nerves are damaged or don’t work like they are supposed to. This usually starts with the hands and the feet but is not localized to those extremities. It could happen to other parts of your body too.
It is also called peripheral neuropathy. You have a network of nerves around your brain and your spinal cord. This makes up your central nervous system (CNS). Your peripheral nervous system is the track that goes all the way from your body to your central nervous system and allows the information signals to travel. When the nerve cells are damaged or destroyed, neuropathy happens.
There are various drugs that you can take for peripheral neuropathy. One of the ways that you can handle it is through topical creams. These topical creams are applied directly to the affected sites. This allows the drug in the creams to be absorbed into the skin and decreases the pain and inflammation. The two types of creams used to treat neuropathy are:
- Analgesic creams
- Anesthetic creams
Analgesic creams are usually nonprescription topical pain relief drugs. These are applied directly to the skin. They contain Capsaicin. Capsaicin comes from chili pepper seeds. Capsaicin has the ability to decrease the nerve cell’s ability to transmit signals of pain. This offers relief to the patient.
Anesthetics are medicines that block the pain by numbing the affected area. One of the examples is Lidocaine. Once you apply these creams, your skin will become numb within the hour, giving you relief. There are also numbing patches that you can use.
Treating Peripheral Neuropathy
Like we mentioned earlier, Capsaicin is found in the seeds of hot chili peppers. It is widely used to treat several types of pains like headaches, back pain, shingles, tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. There are numerous studies about the effectiveness of Capsaicin in pain management. One study found that using 0.075% Capsaicin topical cream produced significant results in patients suffering from post-surgical neuropathies, diabetic neuropathy, and more.
The problem with most over-the-counter topical Capsaicin creams is that they contain very low doses of Capsaicin. This poses a problem for patients who do not find relief in such low quantities. That is where compounding pharmacies come into play. Compounding pharmacists can create a unique treatment plan for you by compounding the required dosage of Capsaicin in your compounded topical cream so that you find pain relief. Compounding pharmacists work with you and your healthcare providers to create the ideal topical pain cream for you.
What to Keep in Mind Before Using Capsaicin
Here are some things you need to consider when using Capsaicin:
- Keep the cream away from children and pets.
- Do not apply it near your eyes and mucous membranes.
- Do not apply the cream near broke skin, wounds, or open cuts.
Another drug that is widely used to treat neuropathy is Lidocaine. It is an anesthetic that blocks the pain signals from reaching your central nervous system. Compounded topical pain creams ensure that your affected area is numb, and that causes you to lose feeling in that area. Lidocaine is also used to treat other things like injuries from scrapes, insect bites, and minor burns, among others. One study found that topical lidocaine cream was effective for patients who suffered from neuropathy and could not tolerate oral treatments.
What to Keep in Mind With Lidocaine
When using Lidocaine, make sure that you avoid any injured areas. Also, make sure to avoid any further injury to the affected area as it will be numb, and you won’t be able to recognize pain if you hurt it. Do not apply Lidocaine to areas that have open wounds, cuts, or sores. This could cause:
- Allergic reactions like a skin rash
- Trouble breathing
- Dizziness and drowsiness
- Fever and chills
Menthol is extracted from mint oils or created synthetically. It is an organic compound. You can find various topical skin creams that contain menthol to treat minor pains. It is also effective in treating neuropathy induced by chemotherapy. A study revealed that topical creams containing menthol were beneficial as they brought rapid relief, low cost, and were easily accessible.
Make sure that you don’t use a cream that contains too much menthol, or it could result in burns on the skin. Ask your compounding pharmacist and your healthcare provider about menthol safety and how much can be used. In extreme cases, there can also be second and third-degree burns.
Compounded Topical Creams for Pain Relief
You can go to your local pharmacy and get over-the-counter products, but that might pose a problem for you. You might not be satisfied with the low doses, or you might have an allergic reaction to one or more ingredients in the cream. That’s why compounding topical pain management creams are so beneficial. A compounding pharmacist will work with you and your physician to find out the substances you are allergic to and make sure not to include them in the cream. They will also find out the dosage that you require and implement it. No two patients are alike, and the same is true for neuropathy patients. A drug that worked on someone else might not work on you. But when you contact a compounding pharmacy, you can ensure you are getting medication that is tailored to fit your needs.