People using certain over-the-counter muscle and joint pain relievers should be cautious following rare cases of serious burns after their use, U.S. health officials say.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday that products that are applied to the skin for the relief of mild muscle and joint pain have been reported to cause rare cases of serious skin injuries, ranging from first-to third-degree chemical burns.


Muscle and joint pain products containing menthol, methyl salicylate, or capsaicin have been reported to cause rare cases of burns. (Stock)

The burns occurred where the creams, lotions, ointments and patches were applied. Normally, the products produce a local sensation of warmth or coolness, the FDA said.

"These products should not cause pain or skin damage, however, there have been rare cases of serious burns following their use. Some of the burns had serious complications requiring hospitalization," the agency said.

People using the products who experience pain, swelling or blistering of the skin should stop using the pain relievers and seek medical attention immediately, the FDA advised.

The products may contain menthol, methyl salicylate, or capsaicin. They are sold under various brand names, such as, Bengay, Capzasin, Flexall, Icy Hot, and Mentholatum.

In 2008, Health Canada advised consumers not to use Kwan Loong Medicated Oil, which contained chloroform, which can cause burns and irritation.

The product also contained methyl salicylate, which Health Canada said should not be used by anyone who is allergic to salicylates or those taking anticoagulant medications.