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What is Qutenza®?

Qutenza® is a prescription-strength pain patch for individuals who have (or had) shingles. It may deliver long-term pain relief—up to three months in a single, one-hour topical treatment. The active ingredient in this patch is an eight percent capsaicin solution, an element that is extracted from hot peppers. It is safe to use the Qutenza patch in conjunction with other pain medicines.

Why it's done

Qutenza can help with the pain from shingles, which can range from uncomfortable to almost unbearable. If you are experiencing even a small shingles rash, you are probably looking for relief. Your symptoms could persist even after your rash has disappeared. Qutenza has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients who experience a significant amount of pain even after their rash has disappeared.

What to expect

Only your doctor or a trained healthcare professional can apply this patch. They will identify the size and shape of the area on your body that’s affected by shingles and cut Qutenza patches to fit accordingly. They will apply numbing cream to the target area on your skin because the capsaicin may cause a burning sensation. The numbing cream is wiped away, and then the Qutenza patch or patches (up to four) are applied to your skin for one hour. After one hour, the patch is removed and then the treatment area is cleansed.


It takes approximately one week for the treatment to reach its full potential. However, patients report some pain relief within a few days.

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