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Bengay logo.png
Product type Analgesic heat rub
Owner Johnson & Johnson
Produced by Johnson & Johnson
Introduced 1898, first developed in France by Dr. Jules Bengué
Markets Over-the-counter drug
Previous owners Pfizer

Bengay, spelled Ben-Gay before 1995, is an analgesic heat rub used to temporarily relieve muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis, bruises, simple backaches,[1] sprains and strains.


Bengay was developed in France by Dr. Jules Bengué, and brought to America in 1898. The name Bengué was anglicized to Bengay. It was originally produced by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson. The product is used topically for adults and children 12 years of age and older, and no more than 3 to 4 times daily.[2] The manufacturer recommends storing the product between 20⁰ and 25⁰C (68⁰ and 77⁰F).[2]


Methyl salicylate is an active ingredient in Bengay, which can be toxic when large doses are administered.[3][4] In October 2007 in the United States, a teenage athlete overdosed and died from overexposure to methyl salicylate.[3][4] This was a rare occurrence,[4] in which the person had "more than six times the safe amount of the ingredient in her body."[3]

Bengay and other products such as Flexall, Mentholatum, Capzasin and Icy Hot have a potential to cause first- to third-degree chemical burns.[5][6] Some people have been hospitalized after receiving such burns.[5] Products containing menthol, methyl salicylate and capsaicin as active ingredients have the potential to cause such burns.[6]

Active ingredients[edit]

The active ingredients vary by the version of the product.

  • Bengay: Original contains 18.3% methyl salicylate and 16% menthol[7]
  • Bengay: Muscle Pain/Ultra Strength contains 30% methyl salicylate, 10% menthol, and 4% camphor[7]
  • Bengay: Ice Extra Strength contains 10% menthol
  • Bengay: Muscle Pain/No Odor contains 15% triethanolamine salicylate
  • Bengay: Arthritis Extra Strength 30% methyl salicylate and 8% menthol[7]

Methyl salicylate can be toxic if the cream is used in excess.[8]

Other uses[edit]

Bengay can be used to remove chewing gum from clothing because the methyl salicylate serves to diffuse the gum base.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Self-medicate or see a doctor? A guide for 5 common ailments". AsiaOne. April 1, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Bengay official website". 
  3. ^ a b c Nazario, Brunilda (October 2007). "Bumpy Road". Women's Health. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Mundell, E.J. (June 15, 2007). "Bengay Death Highlights OTC Dangers". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Bengay may cause chemical burns". WSTM-TV. September 13, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Bengay, Icy Hot can cause serious burns: FDA". Chatham Daily News. September 13, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Pray, W.S. (2006). Nonprescription Product Therapeutics. Nonprescription Product Therapeutics. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 335. ISBN 978-0-7817-3498-1. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Sports cream warnings urged after teen's death". Associated Press. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  9. ^ Janeway, Kimberly (June 24, 2016). "How to Remove Stains Like Mustard, Red Wine, and Ink". Consumer Reports. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ "How to get rid of chewing gum from clothes". Deccan Chronicle. June 28, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]