How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Zucapsaicin belongs to the group of medications called topical analgesics. It is used in combination with anti-inflammatories (e.g., celecoxib, diclofenac, naproxen) to relieve severe knee pain associated with osteoarthritis that has not been relieved with anti-inflammatories alone. This medication should not be used for longer than 3 months. It works by reducing certain pain-producing substances in the skin.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Zuacta is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under zucapsaicin. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

Apply a pea-sized amount of cream to each of 3 separate areas around the affected knee(s) 3 times a day. The applications should be evenly spaced out while you are awake and at least 4 hours apart.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

Gently rub the cream in with one or two fingers around the entire surface of the affected knee(s) until the cream disappears. The cream should not be used on broken, irritated or compromised skin. Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after you apply the cream.

Do not apply the cream near the eyes, lips, or genital areas. Do not cover the area of skin where the cream has been applied with a bandage or wrap. Avoid taking a hot bath or shower before or after applying this medication as this may cause a burning sensation.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss an application, apply it as soon as possible (as long at it is at least 4 hours until your next application) and continue with your regular schedule. If it is less than 4 hours until your next application, skip the missed application and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double application to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing an application, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children. Once the tube is open, it should be used within 6 weeks or before the expiry date, whichever is first.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use this medication if you:

  • are allergic to zucapsaicin or any ingredients of this medication
  • have broken, irritated, or compromised skin

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • burning or warming sensation after application
  • cough
  • decreased skin sensation
  • eye irritation
  • skin irritation
  • skin rash
  • sneezing

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • swelling of the skin

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Eyes and face: Avoid contact of this medication with the eyes. If the cream gets in your eyes, wash the affected eye(s) with plenty of water. Avoid getting this cream near the face as it may cause coughing. It is important to wash your hands well after applying this medication to avoid contacting sensitive skin.

Other medical conditions: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for knee pain caused by medical conditions other than osteoarthritis.

Other medications applied to the skin: You should avoid applying other medications to the skin where this medication is applied.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if zucapsaicin passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 18 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between zucapsaicin and any of the following:

  • other medications applied to the skin (e.g., creams, ointments, gels, patches)

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: