Capsaicin “Chili Pepper” Patch Beats Lyrica for Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

Capsaicin “Chili Pepper” Patch Beats Lyrica for Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

QutenzaA skin patch containing a synthetic version of capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, offers pain relief compared with Lyrica, but with faster pain relief, fewer side effects and greater treatment satisfaction, a new study concludes.

In a head-to-head study published in the European Journal of Pain, researchers compared capsaicin 8% patch (QUTENZA) with pregabalin capsules (Lyrica) in adults with peripheral neuropathic pain (PNP).

The study included 559 adults with moderate-to-severe PNP. Participants received either a single treatment with the capsaicin 8% patch or daily administration of an optimized dose of oral Lyrica.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of those using the capsaicin 8% patch achieved 30% or greater pain relief, compared to 54% of those using pregabalin, showing “non-inferior” pain relief.

But, what differed was how the patch offered faster pain relief.  Those taking the patch achieved pain relief in 7.5 days compared to 36 days with pregabalin.

“This means that there is now another treatment option for people with peripheral neuropathic pain, especially those patients who are very sensitive to the side effects of systemic medication or for those who do not wish to take tablets every day,” said Professor Maija Haanpää, Principal Study Investigator, Department of Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki.

“Some patients may still receive inadequate pain management and have to balance effective pain relief and the side effects of their medication. The capsaicin 8% patch is applied topically and hence has shown less systemic side effects than seen with oral medications. There is a need to tailor treatment to individual patients and these data show that the capsaicin 8% patch is an efficacious agent to manage patients with peripheral neuropathic pain,” commented Dr. Andreas Karas, Senior Director, Medical Affairs, Astellas Pharma EMEA.

Peripheral neuropathic pain is a problem with the functioning of the nerves outside the spinal cord. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include numbness, weakness, burning pain (especially at night), and loss of reflexes.

Lyrica is approved by the FDA to treat chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia, epilepsy, shingles, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and spinal cord injury.

The Qutenza (capsaicin) 8% patch is FDA approved to treat long-term pain associated with shingles attacks.

Authored by: Staff

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Nancy at 11:06 pm

    Okay girls
    Maybe you could help me out a bit here in Canada. I know our drug benefits are very different here in no-mans land but having a doctor who understood my pain for10 yrs. and gave me all the opiates I wanted, did all the MIR’s and sent me to a neurologist twice a year then he died and I was passed over to another doc in his office that doesn’t believe in opiates or anything really for pain. And now I’m in he’ll!
    I had to go to methadone clinic every day for the last year and 3 months to get off the pills, which is very embarrassing since I’m 57 and it’s full of young kids that are in the program ( and good for them) but I kinda stand out big time! I’ve never heard of a topical cream or whatever you are mentioning and I need more info about that to take to my doc. I’m down to taking 2x100mg.of morphine, 2x150mg. of venlafaxine XR., and 2x300mg. of Pregabalin and take 1 every 12 hrs. Considering what I used to take this is nothing and it’s not helping much at all. I have to walk with a cane cuz I always fall, doc sent me for a bone density test, this is how much she doesn’t believe how much pain I’m in. A few exrays I got showed 3 fractures in my spine which only when I asked her I got that out of her! Ok, enough whining, it just sounds like you guy’s know more than me and I’d love to take it to the doctor’s to show them that there is other help out there for me!
    Thanks very much
    Sincerely
    Nancy

  2. Kristi at 4:41 pm

    It’s been well documented that ingredients like Menthol etc work well for pain when it’s applied to a specific area. So this is not a big shock to me at all that Capsaicin would benefit many people. What is good is that it comes in a patch and can soak into the blood stream and help with neuropathy pain. The problem is with Medicare Part D. They took us for a nose dive starting at the beginning of 2015 by not covering things like Lidocaine patches and many other opiates or compound creams.
    Don’t you remember the episode in Orange Is The New Black (Season 1?) when Piper made the pain relieving lotion out of chewing up peppers and adding it to the cream for Red to use on her hip/back!
    So now, not only do we have issues with the politics of pain relief, now we have Medicare Part D not wanting to cover pain relieving medications along with the scare tactics that are layed upon our Pain Management Dr.’s by the FDA and other non-opiod organizations, means inadequate treatment for the chronic pain community. Now add this patch that could benefit many people, will probably not be covered by Part D. The FDA wants to cut out the narcotics and here comes an (almost) natural pain relieving patch and it’s not going to be covered. So what are we supposed to do? The government is backing us up into a corner and it doesn’t feel very good. Legalize medicinal marijuana and maybe I wouldn’t put up such a fight any longer to advocate for a large community that is suffering!

    Sandy, I too take enough meds to knock a horse out and a “normal” person would not be able to tolerate! I get jealous of people, like my friend, who can take .5mg of Klonopin and it will knock her out. I am also a fast metabolizer, especially with Dilaudid and that is the only thing that our ER’s give and they only give 1mg per hour. That is pretty laughable to me because I’ve been on 5mg of Dilaudid 3 times daily and it did nothing for me.

  3. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 1:16 pm

    Interesting how night and day EU docs are when talking pain from Helsinki to the US .

    The US won’t combat other issues that result in death but want to combat us? It’s because we cost the system too much money. [stay with me!]

    The for profit system always has ulterior motives and powerful lobby groups. However, this particular partial quote truly stood out to me

    “Department of Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki.
    “Some patients may still receive inadequate pain management and have to balance effective pain relief and the side effects of their medication. The capsaicin 8% patch is applied topically and hence has shown less systemic side effects than seen with oral medications. There is a need to tailor treatment to individual patients” * snip*

    There is a need to tailor treatment to individual patients! Amen!

    That there is the issue Every *body* is uniquely different and my opiate therapy would kill a opiate naive person who’s twice my weight and a foot taller. Yet, my doctor says I am on the highest dosage in his office? In 5 years I’ve gone through 2 serious reductions in pain medications without a serious reduction in pain or consideration for tolerance.

    Then finding a medicare plan that covers the 12hr med that works for me is difficult. Opana is holding the medicare Part D market and doesn’t cover in most plans the opana IR. Many doctors will not prescribe oxycodone IR anymore as too many pharmacies don’t carry it.

    My problem is despite that opana is oxymorphone and supposed to be stronger; I simply do not get the equal relief from it at all. In fact it passes through me so fast that I fail the in house dipstick UA every time! [lab results come back OK, spit test for metabolizing shows fast metabolizer] and while this is a little bit off the primary topic it is still relevant to the subject.

    We are not getting individualized multimodal treatments. Doctors are being pushed to take us off medications as medicare tells them if they do injections then we should need less meds and this was before the CDC guidelines came through. My doctor had been talking about the future guidelines to me for several months. Until he saw my full body MRI.

    So that’s another thing I have to bring up. Hang on and try not to change your doctors but change the way your current one treats you. Build the trust and be sure you are heard. It took me 23yrs to get someone to realize this mastoid process fracture along the occipital skull plate is playing a huge role in the way my entire left side has collapsed on me.

  4. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 12:28 pm

    Capsaicin cream worked pretty decently on me early on when I had nothing else. Lyrica is bunk. But full disclosure I think gabapentin/neurontin with MMJ is the best for 70% of my neuropathic pain. Along with opiate therapy and injections. I get injections all over. Spine and trigger points and bursitis sacs in hips. Multimodal therapy. Massage also needs to be available to more people. That helps ‘rewire’ the bodies neuropathic routes; so if you’re like me and slowly become paralyzed in the foot or leg – multimodal therapy including massage helped me walk again. The nerve is gonna need surgery eventually though. [lumbosacral]

    But talking creams – my best luck has been the compound cream with ketoprofen, lidocaine and prilocaine. Medicare doesn’t cover it. Here in NE Florida it costs me 25$ for a large bottle that I dang near bath in. [my nerves like radial in right arm swell, fractured mastoid sinus – 23yr old injury swells too… so I rub it all over] When I cannot afford to fork that over on my meager SS income [I am 44] medicare pays for the basic lidocaine/prilocaine cream.

    I did not get much benefit from the stronger lidocaine patches though. Also? Take which ever cream works for you with you to get a massage. They usually do not mind as it helps their hands. Capsaicin well… dunno they may be willing to use it.

  5. Heather at 8:51 am

    Is this already available in the US or only Europe?

  6. Terri at 8:18 am

    …Which means it will not be approved for neuropathy under Medicare Part D as a covered use…and few who need this will benefit..just like the lidocaine patch.