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Pain. 1992 Mar;48(3):383-90.

A new topical treatment for acute herpetic neuralgia and post-herpetic neuralgia: the aspirin/diethyl ether mixture. An open-label study plus a double-blind controlled clinical trial.

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Pain Research and Treatment Unit, University of Milan, Italy.

Erratum in

  • Pain 1992 Aug;50(2):245.


Topical aspirin/diethyl ether (ADE) mixture was used to treat 45 consecutive patients with acute herpetic neuralgia (AHN) (n = 28) and with post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) (n = 17) in an open-label study. Good-to-excellent results were achieved by 93% of AHN patients and by 65% of PHN patients. Earlier treatment yielded better results for the AHN but not the PHN group. The topical treatment seemed to accelerate the healing of acute herpetic skin lesions and possibly modulate the severity of the herpetic infection. Furthermore, a striking reduction in the percentage of AHN patients developing PHN was observed in the treated group, as compared with the disease natural history reported in the literature (4 vs. 50-70%). Treatment tolerance was excellent with no adverse effect observed. In addition to the open trial, a pilot double-blind crossover placebo-controlled study (n = 11) compared the analgesic efficacy of ADE with two other NSAID (indomethacin and diclofenac) drug/ether mixtures. Aspirin (but not indomethacin and diclofenac) was significantly superior to placebo as regards pain relief (P less than 0.05).

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