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Pain. 2002 Sep;99(1-2):323-31.

Assessment of the reproducibility of intradermal administration of capsaicin as a model for inducing human pain.

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  • 1Experimental Medicine Group, AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK 10 4TG, England, UK.


The reproducibility and tolerability of intradermal (i.d.) administration of capsaicin as a method for eliciting human pain was assessed in healthy male volunteers (n = 12). The primary endpoints for assessing pain were spontaneous pain response and areas of allodynia, pinprick hyperalgesia and neurogenic inflammation. These were recorded before, immediately after, and at regular intervals following each of four doses (250 microg) of capsaicin (two per trial day). Within- and between-subject variability to the technique was assessed by measuring the maximum recorded values (max), time to maximum value (t(max)) and area under the curve (AUC(0-1 h)) of each of the endpoints. Tolerability to the technique was addressed by recording adverse events. Reproducibility of the i.d. capsaicin model was demonstrated for each type of capsaicin-induced pain. Following each dose, the magnitude and profile of response and overall AUC values were similar for each parameter although some decrease in pinprick hyperalgesia was observed over time. For spontaneous pain, evidence of a period effect was observed in mean AUC data, with values increasing following the second dose of each trial day. This effect was confounded by the possibility of an arm effect, with the non-dominant arm appearing to be more sensitive to pain than the dominant arm. The data were not sufficient to confirm the existence of these effects. Between-subject variability and within-day, within-subject variability accounted for most of the variability observed in the trial. By optimising study design to eliminate these sources of variability, it was estimated that spontaneous pain and the area of allodynia would be the least variable endpoints. A positive correlation was found between the area of allodynia and area of pinprick hyperalgesia (r(2) = 0.835). Overall, the model was well tolerated with no reports of adverse events. We conclude that the tolerability profile, and variability of i.d. capsaicin-induced pain is acceptable for pharmacological profiling of novel anti-nociceptive agents, with limited number of subjects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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