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Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2016 Aug;16(8):60. doi: 10.1007/s11882-016-0638-1.

Capsaicin for Rhinitis.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Rhinitis is a multifactorial disease characterized by symptoms of sneezing, rhinorrhea, postnasal drip, and nasal congestion. Non-allergic rhinitis is characterized by rhinitis symptoms without systemic sensitization of infectious etiology. Based on endotypes, we can categorize non-allergic rhinitis into an inflammatory endotype with usually eosinophilic inflammation encompassing at least NARES and LAR and part of the drug induced rhinitis (e.g., aspirin intolerance) and a neurogenic endotype encompassing idiopathic rhinitis, gustatory rhinitis, and rhinitis of the elderly. Patients with idiopathic rhinitis have a higher baseline TRPV1 expression in the nasal mucosa than healthy controls. Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chili peppers, plants of the genus Capsicum. Capsaicin is unique among naturally occurring irritant compounds because the initial neuronal excitation evoked by it is followed by a long-lasting refractory period, during which the previously excited neurons are no longer responsive to a broad range of stimuli. Patients with idiopathic rhinitis benefit from intranasal treatment with capsaicin. Expression of TRPV1 is reduced in patients with idiopathic rhinitis after capsaicin treatment. Recently, in a Cochrane review, the effectiveness of capsaicin in the management of idiopathic rhinitis was evaluated and the authors concluded that given that many other options do not work well in non-allergic rhinitis, capsaicin is a reasonable option to try under physician supervision. Capsaicin has not been shown to be effective in allergic rhinitis nor in other forms of non-allergic rhinitis like the inflammatory endotypes or other neurogenic endotypes like rhinitis of the elderly or smoking induced rhinitis.


Capsaicin; Idiopatic rhinitis; Non-allergic rhinitis; Rhinitis

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