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J Investig Med. 2006 Jul;54(5):238-44. doi: 10.2310/6650.2006.05046.

Intradermal capsaicin causes dose-dependent pain, allodynia, and hyperalgesia in humans.

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1
Department of Anesthesiology and the Center for Pain and Palliative Medicine, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA 92093-0924, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Intradermal capsaicin is a human pain model that produces reliable pain and sensitization. This model facilitates controlled testing of analgesic efficacy via a crossover design while minimizing confounding variables in clinical pain states and retaining sufficient power with small samples.

METHODS:

To determine the lowest dose of capsaicin that produces consistent neurosensory measures, we administered 0.1, 1, 10, or 100 microg to healthy volunteers in a blinded manner (N = 19). Pain scores were recorded at 0, 5, 10, 15, and 60 minutes on a visual analog scale from 0 to 100. Areas and intensities of mechanical allodynia (foam brush stimulus) and pinprick hyperalgesia (von Frey test) were quantified at 15 and 60 minutes, as were flare areas.

RESULTS:

Capsaicin produced dose-dependent increases in spontaneous pain (p = .013), the area and intensity of mechanical allodynia (p = .006 and p < .001, respectively), the area and intensity of pinprick hyperalgesia (p = .010 and p = .014, respectively), and the flare area (p = .010). The 10 microg dose produced greater spontaneous pain than the 1 microg dose (p = .017). The 100 microg dose produced greater spontaneous pain than the 10 microg, but the difference was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSION:

The 10 and 100 microg capsaicin doses produced robust pain measures across a range of modalities, and lower doses produced minimal effects. Whereas most studies use 100 microg, using a lower dose is reasonable and may facilitate detection of subtle analgesic effects--particularly with nonopioid analgesics--and drugs can be tested in lower doses, minimizing adverse side effects.

PMID:
16984796
DOI:
10.2310/6650.2006.05046
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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