Novel Agents in Neuropathic Pain, the Role of Capsaicin: Pharmacology, Efficacy, Side Effects, Different Preparations

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Current pain and headache reports


Purpose of review: Capsaicin is a natural substance used to treat neuropathic pain because of its ability to be used in a more direct form on patients and efficiently treat their pain without the amount of side effects seen in the use of oral medications. Recent findings: Currently, the treatments for neuropathic pain are, control of the underlying disease process, then focused on symptomatic relief with pharmacotherapy, topical analgesics, or other interventions. When all pharmacological agents fail to relieve the pain, interventional strategies can be considered, such as neural blocks, spinal cord stimulation, and intrathecal administered medications. The response to current treatment of neuropathic pain is only modest relief of symptoms. Multiple treatment options may be attempted, while ultimately leaving patients with refractory neuropathic pain. For these reasons, a better treatment approach to neuropathic pain is greatly needed. Overall, capsaicin has great potential for becoming a first- or second-line treatment for neuropathic pain, and for becoming a therapeutic option for many other neuropathic pain-related disease states.

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