There are no “secret” ingredients in pain creams. The active pharmaceuticals used are well known analgesics, anesthetics, anti-inflammatories, and neurological blocking agents. These include ibuprofen, lidocaine, gabapentin, morphine, ketamine, ketoprofen, piroxicam, dextromethorphan, and tetracaine to name a few.
There are a number of different pain pathways in the body, i.e., mechanisms by which pain can be mitigated or blocked. These drugs work on many different pain pathways in alleviating pain. The secret is knowing what pathway each drug works on AND what pathway or pathways are involved relative to a particular pain. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to pinpoint a particular pain pathway for a particular pain.
One approach to treatment is trial and error to find just the right medication. But this could be expensive and take too much time. After all, when one is in pain one wants to alleviate or at least mitigate it as soon as possible. That is why we at Key have developed many multiple-ingredient formulas that increase the chance one or more of the ingredients will work on a particular pain. We have had really good success with this approach.
Pain, chronic pain especially, can be debilitating physically and psychologically. Often, topical pain creams are effective but do not carry the same side effects and adverse reactions associated with oral medication. Stomach upset, liver toxicity, kidney toxicity, drowsiness, dizziness, etc., may be issues with oral medications but rarely are seen with topical treatment.
Call one of our pharmacists if you have any questions.