It is a transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 receptor (TRPV1) agonist that activates TRPV1 ligand-gated cation channels on nociceptive nerve fibers, resulting in depolarization, initiation of action potential, and pain signal transmission to the spinal cord; capsaicin exposure results in subsequent desensitization of the sensory axons and inhibition of pain transmission initiation.
In arthritis, capsaicin induces release of substance P, the principal chemomediator of pain impulses from the periphery to the CNS, from peripheral sensory neurons; after repeated application, capsaicin depletes the neuron of substance P and prevents reaccumulation.
- Temporary relief of minor aches and pain of muscles and joints associated with backache, strains, sprains, arthritis, bruises, cramps, or muscle stiffness or soreness.
- Management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia.
- Treatment of pain associated with psoriasis and intractable pruritus.
- Potential use as topical agent in burning mouth syndrome and oral mucositis.
Capsaicin cream needs to be applied at least 3 or 4 times a day and, at least initially, causes transient stinging or burning.
See reference for more information.
Adapted from Drugs.com. Drug Information Database. Internet. Accessed on October 10, 2016.