Campho phenique

camphor (synthetic) and phenol liquid
Product Information
Product TypeHUMAN OTC DRUGItem Code (Source)NDC:69536-110
Route of AdministrationTOPICAL
Active Ingredient/Active Moiety
Ingredient NameBasis of StrengthStrength
PHENOL (UNII: 339NCG44TV) (PHENOL - UNII:339NCG44TV) PHENOL4.7 mg  in 100 mL
Inactive Ingredients
Ingredient NameStrength
#Item CodePackage DescriptionMarketing Start DateMarketing End Date
1NDC:69536-110-751 in 1 CARTON06/01/2017
122 mL in 1 BOTTLE; Type 0: Not a Combination Product
Marketing Information
Marketing CategoryApplication Number or Monograph CitationMarketing Start DateMarketing End Date
OTC MONOGRAPH NOT FINALpart34806/01/2017

People’s Pharmacy: Mysterious white spots from Campho-Phenique

A customer came in my store with shorts on. Her legs were bright red from sunburn except some small spots that were white with no sunburn. I asked her about those white spots.

She said she'd had chigger bites and put Campho-Phenique on each one before she went out in the sun. Have you ever heard of Campho-Phenique to prevent sunburn?

Campho-Phenique is an old-timey topical remedy that was introduced in 1884. At that time, the camphor and phenol were in the form of a powder designed to treat wounds and other skin lesions.

Bayer's Campho-Phenique Pain & Itch Relief still contains camphor and phenol along with inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, eucalyptus oil, glycerin and light mineral oil.

It is promoted as a spot treatment for insect bites, cuts, scrapes, cold sores and sunburn. So far as we can tell, none of these ingredients is approved for preventing sunburn and no one should apply Campho-Phenique over a large area of skin.

Colloidal silicon dioxide is frequently included in sunscreen as an inactive ingredient. According to one manufacturer, some microspherical silicon dioxide products scatter UV light to make the active sunscreen ingredients more efficient.

I have been on 0.5 milligrams of alprazolam for anxiety since before I turned 80. Now my doctor has retired, and my new doctor won't prescribe the drug. At my age, it's not as if I were using alprazolam for recreational purposes or intentionally abusing it. I need something for anxiety.

Because I could not get a new prescription, I cut the pill in half to get 0.25 milligrams. I took it on alternate days for about a week and then dropped it altogether. As of today, I've been off alprazolam for about five days, and I feel pretty anxious. I also have an upset stomach and difficulty sleeping. I suppose that's due to withdrawal effects.

I would prefer to continue on the drug, but it appears I won't be allowed to. Is there any other anxiety medicine I could use? What can I expect as regards withdrawal effects?

Your new doctor is probably aware that alprazolam (Xanax) is on the "Beers list" of drugs that should generally not be prescribed for older adults. Benzodiazepine drugs like alprazolam can put you at a greater risk of falling. They have also been linked to memory loss or cognitive impairment in older people.

We discuss the Beers list and other inappropriate drugs for senior citizens in much more detail in our eGuide to Drugs and Older People. You can find it in the Health eGuides section of

The withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing from stopping alprazolam should start to fade fairly soon, but you may continue to have difficulties for a few weeks. Talk to your doctor about this. He or she may be able to refer you for cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help alleviate anxiety without drugs. An alternative medication would be buspirone, which is less likely to cause such troublesome side effects.

I have discovered a new off-the-shelf drug, esomeprazole magnesium. I have taken Tums for years, with modest results.

My wife bought me this new drug, and I take it once a day. Like magic, I have no more heartburn. I can eat food that has always bothered me, like pizza and spaghetti sauce. I have not taken a Tums in months.

We're not surprised you've found this drug helpful. It is the generic form of Nexium 24HR. It works best when taken once a day, as you describe, but you shouldn't take it for more than two weeks. Such proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may have serious side effects over the long term.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email them via their website: Their newest book is "Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them."

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Campho-Phenique overdose

Campho-Phenique is an over-the-counter medicine used to treat cold sores and insect bites.

Campho-Phenique overdose occurs when someone applies more than the normal or recommended amount of this medicine or takes it by mouth. This can be by accident or on purpose. Inhaling a large amount of Campho-Phenique fumes may also cause symptoms.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual overdose. If you or someone you are with overdoses, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Campho-Phenique contains both camphor and phenol.

For information on products containing camphor alone, see camphor overdose.

Both camphor and phenol are in Campho-Phenique. However, camphor and phenol may be found separately in other products.

Below are symptoms of a Campho-Phenique overdose in different parts of the body.



  • Little or no urine output


  • Burning in the mouth or throat


  • Collapse (shock)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse


  • Agitation
  • Coma (lack of responsiveness)
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle stiffness or uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Stupor (confusion and mental slowness)
  • Twitching facial muscles



  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Nausea and vomiting

Seek medical help right away. DO NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to. For skin irritation or contact with the eyes, flush the area with cool water for 15 minutes.

Have this information ready:

  • Person's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strength, if known)
  • When it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed

Your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated.

Tests may include:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • ECG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing)

Treatment may include:

  • Intravenous fluids (IV, or through a vein)
  • Laxatives
  • Medicine to treat symptoms
  • Skin and eye irritation may be treated with cool water irrigation and antibiotic cream, ointment, or eyedrops
  • Breathing support, including tube through the mouth into the lungs and connected to ventilator (breathing machine)

Survival past 48 hours often means the person will recover. Seizures and irregular heartbeat may start suddenly, within minutes of exposure, and pose the greatest risk to health and recovery.

Keep all medicines in child-proof containers and out of the reach of children.

Aronson JK. Paraffins. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:494-498.

Wang GS, Buchanan JA. Hydrocarbons. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 152.

Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.



Phenique campho



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