Chemist + Druggist is part of Pharma Intelligence UK Limited

This is operated by Pharma Intelligence UK Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13787459 whose registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. The Pharma Intelligence group is owned by Caerus Topco S.à r.l. and all copyright resides with the group.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. Please do not redistribute without permission.

Printed By


Pharmacy staff share their experiences of capsaicin cream shortages

Pharmacy staff have told C+D that patients are not happy with suggested alternatives to capsaicin-containing creams Zacin and Axsain, which are out of stock until later this year.

Zacin 0.025% and Axsain 0.075% creams, which contain the active ingredient capsaicin and are exclusively supplied by Teva, are out of stock until “late 2019”, the manufacturer told C+D on Wednesday (September 18).

The shortages are due to a problem with the supply of the active ingredients, caused by “regulatory timelines”, Teva explained.

There are no plans to import an unlicensed version of the product into the UK, it added. Axsain has been out of stock since mid-April, and Zacin since late May.

Lack of alternatives

Hasib Ahmed, pharmacist manager at Matson Pharmacy in Gloucester, told C+D that although the shortages “haven’t been a huge issue in terms of the number of patients affected“, the main problem is the “lack of direct replacements”.

A similar sentiment was echoed by Ashleigh Kavanagh, dispenser at an Asda Pharmacy in Kent, who told C+D her branch owes around 15 patients the medication, including a pregnant woman “at the end of her tether” with back pain.

“[I] phoned the GP for an alternative or something similar, [and] his instruction was to ‘buy Deep Heat’,” Ms Kavanagh said.

A trainee pharmacy technician at a Boots pharmacy in London – who wished to remain anonymous – told C+D that they owe a few patients the creams and many have had to switch to alternatives.

However, multiple responses to a Facebook post by C+D asking about the impact of the shortages claimed that patients were dissatisfied with alternative options, such as ibuprofen gel, piroxicam and Movelat.

Are capsaicin cream shortages affecting your patients? Read C+D's unplanned CPD learning clinical case study – exclusively for Update Plus subscribers – for a refresher on what capsaicin cream is used for and what alternatives you can recommend.

Jack Roach, pharmacy technician at Williams Chemist in Strood, claimed pharmacists “only recently” heard from Teva regarding the shortage of both creams, after months of pharmacies “yelling down the phones” at GPs “to tell them to stop prescribing it”.

“We kept on telling the patient [that the creams are] unavailable until further notice and to try in another pharmacy,” he added.

Although the cream shortages are causing difficulties, he said shortages of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) patches and EpiPens are “still our biggest problem at the moment”.

How are medicines shortages affecting your pharmacy? Take C+D's shortages survey to let us know.

Has your pharmacy been affected by capsaicin cream shortages?

Related Content


Pharmacist Manager
£ Competitive

Apply Now
Latest News & Analysis
See All



Ask The Analyst

Please Note: You can also Click below Link for Ask the Analyst
Ask The Analyst

Thank you for submitting your question. We will respond to you within 2 business days. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts