Capsaicin and arterial hypertensive crisis

Int J Cardiol. 2010 Oct 8;144(2):e26-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.12.080. Epub 2009 Jan 24.


Chili peppers are rich in capsaicin. The potent vasodilator calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is stored in a population of C-fiber afferents that are sensitive to capsaicin. CGRP and peptides released from cardiac C fibers have a beneficial effect in myocardial ischemia and reperfusion. It has been reported that capsaicin pretreatment can deplete cardiac C-fiber peptide stores. Furthermore, it has also been reported that capsaicin-treated pigs have significantly increased mean arterial blood pressure compared with controls, and that the decrease in CGRP synthesis and release contributes to the elevated blood pressure. A case has also been reported of an arterial hypertensive crisis in a patient with a large ingestion of peppers and chili peppers the day before. We present a case of an arterial hypertensive crisis in a 19-year-old Italian man with an abundant ingestion of peppers and of chili peppers the preceding day. This case describes an unusual pattern of arterial hypertensive crisis due to capsaicin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Capsaicin / poisoning*
  • Capsicum / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Male
  • Young Adult


  • Capsaicin