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Pain Research and Management
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9703036, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Feasibility of Topical Applications of Natural High-Concentration Capsaicinoid Solutions in Patients with Peripheral Neuropathic Pain: A Retrospective Analysis

1Department of Anesthesiology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium
2Institute of NeuroScience, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium
3Louvain Drug Research Institute, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium
4Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel), Brussels, Belgium

Received 11 April 2016; Revised 23 November 2016; Accepted 8 December 2016

Academic Editor: Yelena Granovsky

Copyright © 2016 Fanny Bauchy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Capsaicin, one of several capsaicinoid compounds, is a potent TRPV1 agonist. Topical application at high concentration (high concentration, >1%) induces a reversible disappearance of epidermal free nerve endings and is used to treat peripheral neuropathic pain (PNP). While the benefit of low-concentration capsaicin remains controversial, the 8%-capsaicin patch (Qutenza®, 2010, Astellas, Netherlands) has shown its effectiveness. This patch is, however, costly and natural high-concentration capsaicinoid solutions may represent a cheaper alternative to pure capsaicin. Methods. In this retrospective study, 149 patients were screened, 132 were included with a diagnosis of neuropathic pain, and eighty-four were retained in the final analyses (median age: 57.5 years [IQR25–75: 44.7–67.1], male/female: 30/54) with PNP who were treated with topical applications of natural high-concentration capsaicinoid solutions (total number of applications: 137). Indications were postsurgical PNP (85.7%) and nonsurgical PNP (14.3%) (posttraumatic, HIV-related, postherpetic, and radicular PNP). Objectives. To assess the feasibility of topical applications of natural high-concentration capsaicinoid solutions for the treatment of PNP. Results. The median treated area was 250 cm2 [IQR25–75: 144–531]. The median amount of capsaicinoids was 55.1 mg [IQR25–75: 28.7–76.5] per plaster and the median concentration was 172.3 μg/cm2 [IQR25–75: 127.6–255.2]. Most patients had local adverse effects on the day of treatment, such as mild to moderate burning pain and erythema. 13.6–19.4% of the patients experienced severe pain or erythema. Following treatment, 62.5% of patients reported a lower pain intensity or a smaller pain surface, and 35% reported a sustained pain relief lasting for at least 4 weeks. Conclusion. Analgesic topical treatment with natural high-concentration capsaicinoid is feasible and may represent a low cost alternative to alleviate PNP in clinical practice.