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Salonpas is a brand name of a line of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relieving products manufactured by Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. of Tosu City, Japan. Introduced to the Japanese market in 1934, Salonpas is now sold in approximately fifty countries. The largest markets for the products are Japan and other Asian nations such as Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan. According to Hisamitsu, approximately 20 billion Salonpas transdermal patches have been sold in the last 20 years.
Similar products are marketed by other companies, including Absorbine Jr. Pain Relief, Excedrin Cooling Pads, and Icy Hot Patches.
The following is a summary of Salonpas brand products sold in the U.S.
The Salonpas Pain Relief Patch and Salonpas Arthritis Pain patches are manufactured using what Hisamitsu calls “comfort stretch” technology that provides effective pain relief while allowing patients to maintain daily activities and, an alternative for those who prefer to avoid the use of oral OTC pain-relief medication for minor aches and pains. The company differentiates its products from oral medications because the active ingredients in Salonpas patches are absorbed through the skin and go directly to the site of the pain.
In February 2008, the FDA approved a New Drug Application (NDA) covering Salonpas Pain Relief Patch and Salonpas Arthritis Pain, topical pain-relieving patches. These patches contain recognized analgesic ingredients (menthol, methyl salicylate) called counterirritants, which when applied to the skin, diminish pain signals under areas to which they are administered. To date, the Salonpas Pain Relief Patch and Salonpas Arthritis Pain patch are the only external analgesic patches subject to an approved NDA and sold into the over-the-counter health care market.
The effectiveness of the Salonpas Pain Relief Patch and Salonpas Arthritis Pain patch have been established in a randomized controlled trial that was performed by Hisamitsu employees. The study, which was published in 2010, involved 208 adults with mild to moderate muscle strain. In the study, the Salonpas patch was found to provide significantly greater pain relief compared to a placebo patch, and the rates of adverse events were similar in the Salonpas and placebo groups.