How Capsaicin works on Arthritis:
Capsaicin is the chemical substance which makes chili peppers hot. Commercial capsaicin is the purified extract from chili peppers that functions as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. This product can relieve pain by reducing “substance P” which is involved in the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Pain relief from capsaicin is not instantaneous and would take several weeks before you can benefit from its full effect. One study involving Capsaicin cream has found out that there is a 33% reduction on knee osteoarthritis pain and 57% reduction in rheumatoid arthritis pain. Capsaicin is very effective for temporarily relieving arthritis pain in joints that are close to the skin surface, such as the joints of the fingers, knees and elbows. It may also reduce the pain from damaged nerves caused by shingles or diabetes.
Side Effects and Precautions of Capsaicin:
Do not apply capsaicin cream on open wounds, burned skin and irritated skin. Do not apply capsaicin near the eyes, nose and mouth. Capsaicin has very little side effect except for burning and stinging sensation of the skin. Wash your hands after application and if possible use disposable gloves during the topical application of this medicine.
Forms, Dosage and Brand Names of Capsaicin:
0.025-0.075% capsaicin cream in 45 gram tubes applied 3 to 4 times daily on affected areas. Capzasin-P, Dolorac, Zostrix are some of the common brand names of capsaicin cream.
Adults: 0.025% Capsaicin cream applied four times daily. If it is not effective stup up to 0.075% capsaicin cream applied four times daily.
Pregnant Women: the safety of capsaicin cream on pregnant women has not been studied. Consult your doctor if you plan to use capsaicin cream.
Children: generally well tolerated.
References about Capsaicin:
Deal CL, “The use of topical capsaicin in managing arthritis pain: a clinician’s perspective,” Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, June 1994;23:Suppl 3:48-52.
Mathias BJ, et al., “Topical Capsaicin for chronic neck pain,” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Jan./Feb. 1995;74:39-44.
Kang JY, et al., “Effect of capsaicin and chilli on ethanol induced gastric mucosal injury in the rat,” Gut, May 1995;36:664-9.
Kang JY, et al., “Chili-protective factor against peptic ulcer?” Digestive Diseases and Sciences,” March 1995;40:576-9.
D’Alonzo AJ, et al., “In vitro effects of capsaicin: antiarrhythmic and antiischemic activity,” European Journal of Pharmacology, January 16, 1995;272:269-78.
Fusco BM, et al., “Preventive effect of repeated nasal applications of capsaicin in cluster headache,” Pain, December 1994;59:321-5.