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Capsaicin for neuropathic pain: linking traditional medicine and molecular biology

Haanpää, Maija ; Treede, Rolf-Detlef

In: European neurology, 68 (2012), Nr. 5. pp. 264-275. ISSN 0014-3022

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Capsaicin has long been used as a traditional medicine to treat pain and, recently, its mechanism of analgesic action has been discovered. This review article documents the clinical development of capsaicin to demonstrate that pharmacognosy still has a profound influence on modern-day drug development programs. Capsaicin is a highly selective agonist for the transient receptor potential channel vanilloid-receptor type 1 (TRPV1), which is expressed on central and peripheral terminals of nociceptive primary sensory neurons. Knockout studies have revealed the importance of TRPV1 as a molecular pain integrator and target for novel analgesic agents. Topical application of capsaicin at the peripheral terminal of TRPV1-expressing neurons superficially denervates the epidermis in humans in a highly selective manner and results in hypoalgesia. In three recent randomized controlled trials, a patch containing high-concentration capsaicin demonstrated meaningful efficacy and tolerability relative to a low-concentration capsaicin control patch in patients with peripheral neuropathic pain. Data from clinical practice will determine if the high-concentration capsaicin patch is effective in real-world settings. Copyright (C) 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel

Document type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: European neurology
Volume: 68
Number: 5
Publisher: S. Karger AG
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2014 13:20
Date: 2012
ISSN: 0014-3022
Page Range: pp. 264-275
Faculties / Institutes: Medizinische Fakultät Mannheim > Zentrum für Biomedizin und Medizintechnik (CBTM)
DDC-classification: 570 Life sciences
610 Medical sciences Medicine
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