Topical Capsaicin for the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain

Author(s): Adiba Sultana, Rajeev K. Singla, Xuefei He, Yan Sun, Md. Shahin Alam, Bairong Shen*

Journal Name: Current Drug Metabolism

Volume 22 , Issue 3 , 2021

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Neuropathic pain (NP) is an egregious problem worldwide. Due to the side-effects of oral drugs, drugs delivered directly to the affected area of pain are preferred.

Objective: Capsaicin, a chemical compound isolated from chili peppers, is used as an analgesic in topical ointments and dermal patches to alleviate pain. Objective of the study is to review the application and functionality of topical capsaicin in treatment of neuropathic pain.

Data sources: To systematically review capsaicin’s functions on NP, we retrieved articles from the PubMed database published in the last ten years.

Study eligibility criteria: The inclusion criteria were capsaicin and the use of capsaicin for the treatment of NP; on the other hand, articles were excluded according to the mentioned criteria such as abstracts, articles written in any language other than English, incomplete articles, and conference papers.

Participants and interventions: Out of 265 articles, 108 articles were selected after filtering through the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The data and knowledge currently existing for capsaicin treatment in NP are summarized.

Results: This review indicates that capsaicin effectively improves NP treatment without affecting the motor and large nerve fibres involved in sensory function. Transient receptor potential channel vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) is the capsaicin receptor expressed in central and peripheral terminals of a sensitive primary nerve cell.

Conclusions and implications of key findings: Topical capsaicin has a sensible safety profile and is effective in reducing NP. Therefore, studies over the last decade suggest that capsaicin might be a potential drug for NP treatment.

Keywords: Neuropathic pain, neuromodulation, analgesic agent, natural products, TRPV1, capsaicin.

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Article Details

Year: 2021
Published on: 21 April, 2021
Page: [198 - 207]
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.2174/1389200221999201116143701
Price: $65

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