Doxepin cream (Xepin)

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Doxepin cream helps to reduce itching associated with eczema.

Apply a thin layer of cream three or four times a day.

It can make you feel sleepy. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines.

Type of medicineAn antipruritic cream
Used forItching due to eczema (in adults and in children over 12 years of age)
Also calledXepin®
Available asCream

Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis, which means inflammation of the skin. If you have eczema, areas of your skin become dry, red and inflamed. These areas of inflamed skin are often itchy, making you want to scratch. Then when you scratch, your skin becomes even more inflamed.

Doxepin cream helps to reduce itching in people with eczema. It does this by blocking the action of a substance in your body called histamine.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using doxepin cream it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have a heart condition or an irregular heart rhythm.
  • If you have increased pressure in your eye, a condition called glaucoma.
  • If you have any difficulties passing urine.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works.
  • If you have a mood disorder called mania.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start using the cream, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about doxepin cream, and it will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which you could experience from using it.
  • Apply a thin layer of doxepin cream to the itchy areas three or four times each day. It is recommended that you do not use more than 3 g of cream at any time, or more than 12 g of cream a day. As a rough guide, this means that you should never use so much that a 30 g tube of cream lasts less than three days.
  • Doxepin cream may make you feel sleepy, especially when you first start using it. If it happens to you, do not drive or use tools or machines while you are affected. If it continues to be a problem, apply less cream or, for a few days, reduce the number of times you apply it. You should not drink alcohol while you are using the cream as this can make the sleepiness worse.
  • If the treated areas of your skin are covered (either with your clothing or a dressing), this can increase how much doxepin your skin absorbs and the risk of side-effects. Do not apply more of the cream than your doctor has told you to, and do not use any dressings over the cream unless your doctor has said to do so.
  • Continue to use your emollients every day as this will also help to prevent your skin from becoming dry and itchy. Try to avoid extremes of temperature by wrapping up well in cold weather. Also, avoid wearing rough or irritating clothing which can make your itching worse.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take while you are using doxepin.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones associated with doxepin cream. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any continue or become troublesome.

Very common doxepin cream side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 people)
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sleepy or dizzyIf this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol
Less common doxepin cream side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Burning, stinging or tingling of your skinThis should soon pass but you can try using less cream for a few days
RashThis could be an allergic type of reaction. Stop using the cream and see your doctor for further advice

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the cream, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

This cream is for use on the skin only. If someone swallows some of it, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking or using.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 70th Edition (Sep 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
3221 (v25)
Last Checked:
21/01/2016
Next Review:
20/01/2019
The Information Standard - certified member

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