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      Topical capsaicin for pain management: therapeutic potential and mechanisms of action of the new high-concentration capsaicin 8% patch

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          Summary

          Topical capsaicin formulations are used for pain management. Safety and modest efficacy of low-concentration capsaicin formulations, which require repeated daily self-administration, are supported by meta-analyses of numerous studies. A high-concentration capsaicin 8% patch (Qutenza™) was recently approved in the EU and USA. A single 60-min application in patients with neuropathic pain produced effective pain relief for up to 12 weeks. Advantages of the high-concentration capsaicin patch include longer duration of effect, patient compliance, and low risk for systemic effects or drug–drug interactions. The mechanism of action of topical capsaicin has been ascribed to depletion of substance P. However, experimental and clinical studies show that depletion of substance P from nociceptors is only a correlate of capsaicin treatment and has little, if any, causative role in pain relief. Rather, topical capsaicin acts in the skin to attenuate cutaneous hypersensitivity and reduce pain by a process best described as ‘defunctionalization’ of nociceptor fibres. Defunctionalization is due to a number of effects that include temporary loss of membrane potential, inability to transport neurotrophic factors leading to altered phenotype, and reversible retraction of epidermal and dermal nerve fibre terminals. Peripheral neuropathic hypersensitivity is mediated by diverse mechanisms, including altered expression of the capsaicin receptor TRPV1 or other key ion channels in affected or intact adjacent peripheral nociceptive nerve fibres, aberrant re-innervation, and collateral sprouting, all of which are defunctionalized by topical capsaicin. Evidence suggests that the utility of topical capsaicin may extend beyond painful peripheral neuropathies.

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          Most cited references 121

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          Mechanisms of neuropathic pain.

          Neuropathic pain refers to pain that originates from pathology of the nervous system. Diabetes, infection (herpes zoster), nerve compression, nerve trauma, "channelopathies," and autoimmune disease are examples of diseases that may cause neuropathic pain. The development of both animal models and newer pharmacological strategies has led to an explosion of interest in the underlying mechanisms. Neuropathic pain reflects both peripheral and central sensitization mechanisms. Abnormal signals arise not only from injured axons but also from the intact nociceptors that share the innervation territory of the injured nerve. This review focuses on how both human studies and animal models are helping to elucidate the mechanisms underlying these surprisingly common disorders. The rapid gain in knowledge about abnormal signaling promises breakthroughs in the treatment of these often debilitating disorders.
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            Vanilloid (Capsaicin) receptors and mechanisms.

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              TRPV3 is a temperature-sensitive vanilloid receptor-like protein.

              Vanilloid receptor-1 (VR1, also known as TRPV1) is a thermosensitive, nonselective cation channel that is expressed by capsaicin-sensitive sensory afferents and is activated by noxious heat, acidic pH and the alkaloid irritant capsaicin. Although VR1 gene disruption results in a loss of capsaicin responses, it has minimal effects on thermal nociception. This and other experiments--such as those showing the existence of capsaicin-insensitive heat sensors in sensory neurons--suggest the existence of thermosensitive receptors distinct from VR1. Here we identify a member of the vanilloid receptor/TRP gene family, vanilloid receptor-like protein 3 (VRL3, also known as TRPV3), which is heat-sensitive but capsaicin-insensitive. VRL3 is coded for by a 2,370-base-pair open reading frame, transcribed from a gene adjacent to VR1, and is structurally homologous to VR1. VRL3 responds to noxious heat with a threshold of about 39 degrees C and is co-expressed in dorsal root ganglion neurons with VR1. Furthermore, when heterologously expressed, VRL3 is able to associate with VR1 and may modulate its responses. Hence, not only is VRL3 a thermosensitive ion channel but it may represent an additional vanilloid receptor subunit involved in the formation of heteromeric vanilloid receptor channels.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Br J Anaesth
                bjaint
                brjana
                BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia
                Oxford University Press
                0007-0912
                1471-6771
                October 2011
                17 August 2011
                17 August 2011
                : 107
                : 4
                : 490-502
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Peripheral Neuropathy Unit, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital , Area A, Ground Floor, Du Cane Road, London W12 ONN, UK
                [2 ]NeurogesX, Inc. , 2215 Bridgepointe Parkway, Suite 200, San Mateo, CA 94404, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. E-mail: p.anand@ 123456imperial.ac.uk
                Article
                aer260
                10.1093/bja/aer260
                3169333
                21852280
                © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Categories
                Review Article

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                nerve growth factor, neuropathic pain, capsaicin, trpv1, nociceptor

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