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Pain. 1988 Jun;33(3):333-40.

Post-herpetic neuralgia and topical capsaicin.

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Smythe Pain Clinic, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto, Ont., Canada.


Topical 0.025% capsaicin was used to treat 33 patients with post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Thirty-nine percent of those entering the trial achieved at least a good result and 55% were improved or better. Fifty-six percent of the 23 patients completing the study had good or excellent pain relief after 4 weeks. Seventy-eight percent of the 23 noted at least some improvement in pain. Post-capsaicin burning was a common, untoward effect in most patients and in about one-third was so unbearable that the trial was terminated prematurely. This treatment appears to be a useful modality in PHN, particularly in the elderly in whom oral medications are often poorly tolerated; however, it does require supervision. A double-blind, controlled trial is now necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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