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BENGAY - What You Need to Know

For Relief of Minor Aches and Pains Associated With Arthritis


Updated May 22, 2014

Kate Jacobs/Photodisc/Getty Images

Topical Medications Relieve Arthritis Pain

Oral medications aren't the only way to go when you are searching for something to relieve aches and pains associated with arthritis. Topical arthritis products are preparations that are applied to the skin -- and there are several that can be purchased over-the-counter.

Primarily, topical products are effective for soothing minor arthritis and muscle pain. Products often contain "counterirritants" such as menthol, eucalyptus, or oil of wintergreen that work by irritating the skin where it is applied. The skin begins to feel hot or cold, a distraction from the pain that leads to temporary pain relief. Salicylates are the main ingredient in topical analgesics. Creams which contain salicylates offer pain relief and reduced joint inflammation.

History of BENGAY

BENGAY was developed in France by Dr. Jules Bengué. The product was brought to America in 1898 -- originally produced by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare but later acquired by Johnson & Johnson.

There are several varieties of BENGAY now available. Three are creams, one in gel form, and two are patches.

Ultra Strength BENGAY Cream contains three active ingredients -- methyl salicylate 30%, Menthol 10%, and Camphor 4%. It is considered the strongest BENGAY formulation and used to treat backache, arthritis, sprains, strains and bruises.

Arthritis Formula BENGAY Cream contains two active ingredients -- methyl salicylate 30% and menthol 8%. It is used for the same indications as the Ultra Strength formulation and acts as a topical analgesic as well.

Greaseless BENGAY Pain Relieving Cream contains methyl salicylate 15% and menthol 10%. As its name indicates, this formulation is non-greasy and, according to the manufacturer, offers fast pain relief for minor aches and pains.

Vanishing Scent BENGAY Gel contains menthol 2.5% as its active ingredient. It offers deep penetrating pain relief as do the other formulations.

Ultra Strength BENGAY Pain Relieving Patch contains menthol 5% and provides concentrated, deep, penetrating heat in a self-adhesive patch. The patch feels cool upon application before generating a warm sensation. It comes in two sizes -- Regular (3.9 in x 5.5 in) and Large (3.9 in x 7.9 in).

Original Strength BENGAY Pain Relieving Patch contains menthol 1.4% as its active ingredient. It is available in the same sizes as Ultra Strength.

Warnings and Precautions for BENGAY

BENGAY is for external use only. You should not use BENGAY products on wounds or damaged skin, with a heating pad, or on a child under 12 years of age.

If you have redness over the affected area, consult your doctor before using BENGAY products. When using this product avoid contact with eyes or mucous membranes. Also do not apply bandages tightly over the area being treated.

Stop use and ask a doctor if your condition worsens or symptoms persist for more than 7 days, symptoms clear up and occur again within a few days, or excessive skin irritation develops.

Bottom Line

BENGAY is not the only topical medication sold for arthritis. Here are Top Arthritis Cream Products you may wish to consider. There are also generic versions of these topical medications available.


BENGAY Products. Published by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company, Division of Johnson & Johnson.

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