Published in Eur J Pain. 2014 Mar
Authors: Jensen TS et al.,
Application of the capsaicin 8% patch is associated with treatment-related discomfort. Consequently, pretreatment for 60 min with anaesthetic cream is recommended; however, this may be uncomfortable and time consuming.
We conducted a multicentre, randomized (1:1), assessor-blinded study in patients with peripheral neuropathic pain to assess tolerability of the capsaicin patch following topical lidocaine (4%) or oral tramadol (50 mg) pretreatment. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients tolerating capsaicin patch application (ability to receive greater than 90% of a 60-min application). Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) scores were assessed before, during and after treatment.
Overall, 122 patients were included (61 per arm). The capsaicin patch was tolerated by 121 patients. Tolerability of the capsaicin patch was similar following pretreatment with lidocaine and tramadol. Following patch application, pain levels increased up to 55 min (change from baseline of 1.3 for lidocaine and 1.4 for tramadol). After patch removal, tramadol-treated patients experienced greater pain relief up to the end of day 1; in the evening, mean changes in NPRS scores from baseline were 0 for lidocaine and -1 for tramadol. Proportions of patients reporting increases of greater than 2 NPRS points or greater than 33% from baseline at one or more time point(s) on the day of treatment were similar between arms. Adverse event incidence was comparable between arms.
Capsaicin 8% patch tolerability was similar in the two arms, with comparable results for most secondary endpoints. Tramadol given 30 min before patch application should be considered as an alternative pretreatment option in patients receiving capsaicin patch treatment.