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Icy Hot: Some Nasty Stories

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Chattanooga, TNWhile Chattem Inc. of Tennessee was collecting adverse reaction reports concerning serious burns relating to the use of its Icy Hot Patch products, consumers were enduring horrendous events that landed some in hospital.

One woman complained that after applying the Icy Hot Back patch for back pain, it took her a full ten minutes of slow peeling to get it off. Afterwards, getting in the shower and experiencing what amounted to excruciating pain once the water tumbled from the showerhead and hit her back, did she realize that the patch had removed a piece of her skin along with it. The woman now has a permanent scar on her back from the injury.

Back PainThe Icy Hot Patch family is a collection of air-activated patches that retail in a red pouch. Once removed, the chemicals within the patch are activated. Upon securing the patch onto the affected area, the chemicals within the product go to work—first to cool the affected area, then heat to further soothe the muscle. Adhesive is used to secure the patch in place, and the product is to be worn for no more than eight hours at a time.

However, it was found that the patch proved too hot for some—especially for those with sensitive skin, such as the elderly, or consumers who inadvertently fall asleep or use a heating pad, which can exacerbate the situation. The manufacturer has since issued product usage updates regarding those issues and has recommended that the product not be used by anyone over 55 years of age. However, the warnings came too late for some.

And for those who suffered first, second and third-degree burns when the patch heated up too much, removing the patch has proven an excruciating challenge given the robust adhesive used to anchor the patch in place. With healthy skin, removal of a large patch such as the Icy Hot Back Patch would prove unpleasant at best. However, when injured skin is brought into the mix, removal of the patch has been known to further irritate, damage or even remove sensitive or injured skin, to the point of hellish pain.

One middle-aged man writes that he had been using Icy Hot cream for 2 years
and had been pleased with the product. "So when (the Icy Hot Patch) came out I thought 'great!' I purchased them and applied one to my shoulder just as directed. I do not have delicate skin and I am only 58 years old. When I tried to remove the patch it wouldn't come off easily. I very slowly tried to peel it away from my skin. When it did come off it took the size of a silver dollar's worth of skin along with it."

After three days the affected area finally began to heal.

"Would I use this product again?" he asks. "NO WAY! In fact I will never use any of their products again and will tell everyone I know about it. I work in a hospital and see a lot of people daily. I can't imagine what this patch would do to our seniors who have delicate skin to begin with."

As indicated above, the manufacturer's warnings and usage updates came too late for this consumer. However, Chattem was warned as far back as March of last year that the Icy Hot Patches were a problem, after a young Texas boy wound up with serious leg burns after using the patch. His caring mother immediately notified the company, hoping to spare anyone else the pain and discomfort that her son had gone through. And yet, the company allegedly waited almost a full year before finally triggering a voluntary recall on a product that was negatively affecting so many consumers. About 200 adverse reaction reports had come in, before the company reacted.

Even when used as directed, sometimes things can go wrong. One man writes that an acquaintance had used an Icy Hot Back patch on his lower back, for back pain. While it is not known if he had any problems with the skin under the patch, the issue for this gentleman became the unfortunate leakage of the active ingredient from the patch, which trickled down into the extremely sensitive area between his buttocks.

Anyone who has any experience with Icy Hot cream, or any other product of that ilk, will know what happens when you inadvertently get any of it within your nether regions. The pain can be excruciating. This poor fellow wound up in the ER of his local hospital with nasty burns the size of silver dollars inside his cheeks.

He's talking to an attorney…

Icy Hot Patch

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Posted by

I used to use rx Lidoderm patches for 2 herniated discs in my lower back, but insurance quit paying. Now they're OTC at 4% Lidocaine. I got the Icy Hot XL patches for my back. Then I got an abscessed tooth and used a small 2"x2" piece over my cheek to help with the pain. I guess some of it leeched into the skin on my lower jaw, not the application site but way below it, because I have a ton of yellow and purple bruising a few days after I quit wearing it. I've been to 3 dentists in one week, none have seen this before. Today they took pics and showed it to an MD and he had never seen it either. I had the abscess drained last week, and I was freaking out thinking infection returned and had caused this lower jaw bruising even though the abscess was in my upper molar, but they said no it's not from that. I think wearing it for 2 days straight probably did it. (My bad I know). I'll still continue to use it for my back (but just pure lidocaine, no hot stuff) since I used both brand and generic Lidoderm for years with zero bruising or problems. I think it has to do with whatever chemicals cause the 'hot' sensation in Icy Hot. Believe me even generic prescription lidocaine patches are very expensive (like 7 for $100) so I'll take the lidocaine, just not the hot stuff. I don't like that weird heat anyway, I just want to numb it.

Posted by

I bought this Icy Hot for my son who had a very bad back. He put it on and within a short space of time, he had a terrible headache. I gave it to my daughter in law and the same thing happened to her, she got a bad migrane. I am thinking of sending mine back, I have it, to see if something is wrong with it. I don't have reason to use it, so I can't comment, but they thought it was horrible.

Posted by

I've used Walgreens cool n patch for years with no problems. I had a coupon & bought icey hot. I applied to my neck & upper arm. It wasn't hard to peel off. When I did my skin was red & painful. It took over a week to heal. My skin was dry & peeling. It was like dry skin rash with itching. I'm sticking to the cheaper patches from now on.

Posted by

I've been using Icy Hot medicated NoMess Applicator for couple of yrs no problems until the last couple of times. My knee started to burn and it was just raw when I woke up in the morning. Took almost 10 days to go away. I was stupid enough to think it was a fluke so I tried it on my neck omg that was worse it was like when you get burned from a perm. I checked and it's not expired. What's up? Did you change the formula?

Posted by

I was Having neck,shoulder , and back pain so I applied icy hot to the areas that were hurting . I woke up several hours later with the feeling my back was on fire. So I washed it off with cold water . The next morning I woke up with blisters and skin red and swollen. I immediately went to the emergency care . The doctor said, I had 1st to 2nd degree burns. I will always have scares now because of this.

Posted by

I applied Icy Hot no Mess Applicator to my ribs, shoulders, upper chest and back and in between my breast... Even though not warned still made sure to avoid my breast but I guess I failed... I awoke with a black scab at the very start of my right breasg along with two bumps that seem to come and go. I guess its safe to say be careful with ALL Icy Hot products.

Posted by

There are a couple of things I have noticed . One being the sensitivity almost electrical feeling I get to the area I have placed the patch on hours after being removed. Two, once I open the package and use the first patch quickly sealing the contents from exposure ....when I'm ready to use the next patch I notice the effect or results have lessened. It's as if the opening of the pkg contaminates or ruins the rest of the patches. I wish you would individually pkg them.

Posted by

I had been using the icy hot patches for awhile now and had never had a problem with it. But a couple of days ago I put one on and everything seemed okay at first. Then after 20 minutes it felt like the patch was burning my back. I quickly took it off and threw it away. I looked at my back and I wasn't burned or anything. But the next day when I got out of the shower I noticed that I had bumps in the area the patch was. And no these weren't just tiny little dots on my back, they look like stretch marks that are raised(I don't know how to describe them) I waited a few days hoping that they would go away, but they never did. They are also very sensitive to touch. I don't know what they are and I don't know if I should go to someone to get them checked out. I'll be sure to not use the product again in the future and resort to a heating pad or ice pack instead.

Posted by

I just recently used the icy hot patch on my lower back. When I tried to remove the patch it tore my skin off not knowing that it burnt my skin as well. Second degree burns of an area of 4"x4". I would not use this product and would advise extreme caution to others. 5/6/2015

Posted by

After using ICYHOT medicated patch extra strength xl size i wore to bed 7hrs total when i removed it i had small bruises all over my hip where the patch had been.I called a pharmacist and showed a nurse neither had no idea what caused this ? i have used other brands many times and never had any problems.Just curious what could have caused this? I definitely will not use this brand again!

Posted by

Hi, I'm a 21 year old diabetic. I get deep stiffness and pains in my shoulders, neck and upper back from having spinal surgery and what was meant to be a fatal infection a few years ago. Just giving some bg history. I was strong and pulled through, eventually took myself off pain killers and went organic. Every now and then I get a pain so bad that I get desperate. Tonight against my better judgment I found some Icy Hot cream which, although I have hardly used it in the past.. I never remember having trouble with. I applied it generously to my painful areas, and all of a sudden I felt like my blood sugar was absolutely crashing! However, I really wasn't sure so while I grabbed a soda, I checked it with tremoring hands and an extreme tension headache with tooth clenching. My body was just telling me it was headed toward serious danger. The number was actually in the 200's! Not anywhere low, and extremely confusing since my sugar has been pretty well controlled lately! I think it was the stress of whatever that stuff did to me as my body fought to initially recognize it, I'm just so glad I did not faint since I had been standing in the kitchen over the hardest floor in the house! It absolutely had to be the cream, Nothing was different besides that factor. Still have strange tension/tingling in the back of my head but I am hoping When my insulin kicks in and I have a snack it will subside.


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