NHS Dudley Health Economy Medicines Formulary
Home > 10 Musculoskeletal and joint diseases > 10.3 Drugs for the treatment of soft-tissue disorders and topical pain relief > 10.3.2 Rubefacients, topical NSAIDs, capsaicin, and poultices

10.3.2 Rubefacients, topical NSAIDs, capsaicin, and poultices

General guidance

  • Rubefacients act by counter-irritation. Pain, whether superficial or deep-seated may be relieved by any method which itself produces irritation of the skin. Counter-irritation is comforting in painful lesions of the muscles, tendons, and joints, and in non-articular rheumatism.
  • Rubefacients probably all act through the same essential mechanism and differ mainly in the intensity and duration of action.

Recommended drugs

Ibuprofen gel


Drug Traffic Light Key:

Green – On Formulary

Amber – Restricted use, see local guidelines      

Purple – Specialist use/initiation

Red – Non Formulary


Relative Costs Key (where indicated):

£££££ - high

£££ - moderate

£ - low

Site by Devopa
© Copyright 2024 NHS. All rights reserved.