From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bengay logo.png
Product typeAnalgesic heat rub
OwnerJohnson & Johnson
Produced byJohnson & Johnson
CountryDeveloped in France by Dr. Jules Bengué
Introduced1898; 123 years ago (1898) (as Ben-Gay)
MarketsOver-the-counter drug
Previous ownersPfizer

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


Bengay was developed in the Third French Republic by Dr. Jules Bengué (French pronunciation: ​[ʒyl bɛ̃ɡe]), and brought to America in 1898. The name Bengué was Anglicized and commercialized to Ben-Gay (later Bengay). It was originally produced by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson. The product is advised to be 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 classic Bengay and most of its variants, 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 similar 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, including:

  • 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 contains 30% methyl salicylate and 8% menthol.[7]

Other uses[edit]

As a folk remedy, Bengay can be used to remove chewing gum from clothing, as the methyl salicylate serves to loosen and diffuse the gum base.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Self-medicate or see a doctor? A guide for 5 common ailments". AsiaOne. April 1, 2015. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 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. ^ Janeway, Kimberly (June 24, 2016). "How to Remove Stains Like Mustard, Red Wine, and Ink". Consumer Reports. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "How to get rid of chewing gum from clothes". Deccan Chronicle. June 28, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]