How effective is topical capsaicin for chronic neuropathic pain in adults?
All studies satisfied minimum criteria for quality and validity but maintenance of blinding remained a potential problem. The limited amount of data for different neuropathic conditions and inconsistent definition of outcome meant estimates for the number of participants achieving clinically useful levels of pain relief were not robust.
Topical creams with capsaicin are used to treat pain resulting from a wide range of chronic conditions, including neuropathic pain. Following application to the skin, capsaicin causes enhanced sensitivity to noxious stimuli, followed by a period with reduced sensitivity and, after repeated applications, persistent desensitisation.