Medline: 7629418

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 10(3): 243-248, 1995.

Oral capsaicin provides temporary relief for oral mucositis pain secondary to chemotherapy/radiation therapy.

Berger A, Henderson M, Nadoolman W, et al.


Pain from oral mucositis afflicts from 40% to 70% of patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Current methods of clinical pain management (for example, topical anesthetics, systemic analgesics) have limited success. In a pilot study, we examined the ability of oral capsaicin to provide temporary relief of oral mucositis pain. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, desensitizes some neurons and has provided moderate pain relief when applied to the skin surface. Oral capsaicin in a candy (taffy) vehicle produced substantial pain reduction in 11 patients with oral mucositis pain from cancer therapy. However, this pain relief was not complete for most patients and was only temporary. Additional research is needed to fully utilize the properties of capsaicin desensitization and thus optimize analgesia.

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