Background Capsaicin is commonly used in creams in low concentrations with limited success. More recently it has been formulated in a high concentration patch (8%), indicated for the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain in non-diabetic adults.
Purpose To evaluate the effectiveness of treatment with capsaicin patches in a group of patients in Garcia de Orta Hospital Pain Unit.
Materials and Methods This retrospective study, which included 30 patients with neuropathic pain, examined data from the last two years. This treatment was done more than once, with a minimum interval of 12 weeks.
The number of treatments and the number of patches, the area affected, the perception of pain, functional capacity and adverse events were evaluated.
Results The mean age was 58.1 ± 16.5, the number of treatments was 2.8 ± 0.7, the number of patches per treatment was 2.4 ± 1.0 with an average cost per treatment of €630.2±€262.6.
An average reduction of 50.5% was observed in the affected area, a reduction of 24.1% in the baseline pain score, using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and a reduction of 12% in the peak pain score.
Functional capacity had limited improvement.
The most common side effects were application site reactions including intense burning, pain, swelling and erythema. Blood pressure alterations were not noticed.
Conclusions Taking into account the ‘IMMPACT’ recommendations , the observed reduction in the VAS score was lower than 30% both in peak and baseline score. This did not translate into a clinically significant improvement.
Given the size of the study sample, the conclusions although interesting, must be confirmed with additional data.
In times of severe budget restraints, heath care providers must take into account both the benefits that new treatments bring to patients and the limited resources available in public services.
No conflict of interest.
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