Summaries of nursing care-related systematic reviews: Topical capsaicin for chronic neuropathic pain in adults.
Capsaicin is the chemical in chilli peppers which makes them taste hot. It is used topically to treat pain for a range of chronic neuropathic conditions i.e. where damaged nerves cause pain over an extended period of time. Cited uses include the treatment of pain due to post-herpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, HIV neuropathy, and surgery. Capsaicin binds to receptors in the skin, which may cause an initial sensation of burning or heat. This enhanced sensitivity is then followed by a period of reduced sensitivity. Repeated applications may result in persistent de-sensitisation, relieving pain over a period of time. Capsaicin is in widespread use, but its efficacy is unclear. Nurses who work in the management of pain are likely to be involved in supporting patients who use capsaicin. The initial discomfort felt by many may limit their ability to tolerate it. It is useful for nurses to know how effective capsaicin is, in order to provide informed advice to their clients as to whether the initial discomfort of application is likely to be worthwhile, in terms of longer term pain relief.
Citation : Norrie, P. (2010) Summaries of Nursing Care-Related Systematic Reviews: Topical capsaicin for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. International Journal of Evidence Based Health Care, 8 (3) pp. 147-148
ISSN : 1744-1609
Research Group : Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre
Peer Reviewed : Yes