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Reumatol Clin. 2018 Jan - Feb;14(1):40-45. doi: 10.1016/j.reuma.2016.07.008. Epub 2016 Aug 27.

Topical capsaicin for pain in osteoarthritis: A literature review.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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Family Medicine, Unidade de Saúde Familiar Faria Guimarães, Porto, Portugal. Electronic address:
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal; Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine of Porto University, Porto, Portugal.
Rheumatology Department, Centro Hospitalar São João, Porto, Portugal; Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of Porto University, Porto, Portugal.


Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder worldwide. The predominant symptom, pain, is usually treated with acetaminophen or oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, although they are associated with a significant risk of side effects. Topical capsaicin may represent an effective and safe alternative. The aim of this review is to examine the evidence for the efficacy and safety profile of topical capsaicin in the management of pain caused by osteoarthritis. Databases were searched for articles published between 2004 and 2016, in Portuguese, English or Spanish, using the search terms "capsaicin" and "osteoarthritis". When compared to placebo, it was found that topical capsaicin has a good safety profile and efficacy in reducing osteoarthritis pain of the hand, knee, hip or shoulder. However, the studies have significant limitations, the most important the difficulty of blinding. It is attributed to this review the strength of recommendation B.


Capsaicin; Capsaicina; Dolor; Osteoarthritis; Osteoartritis; Pain

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