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. Capsaicin, a chemical compound isolated
from chili peppers, is used as an analgesic in topical ointments and dermal patches to alleviate pain. To systematically
review capsaicin’s functions on NP, we retrieved articles from the PubMed database published in the
last ten years. 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. This review
indicates that capsaicin effectively improves NP treatment without affecting the motor and large nerve fibers 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. 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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