Capsaicin 8 % Patch: A Review in Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

Drugs. 2016 Jan;76(1):123-34. doi: 10.1007/s40265-015-0520-9.


The capsaicin 8 % patch (QUTENZA®) is an adhesive patch containing a high concentration (8 % w/w) of synthetic capsaicin, a selective agonist of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 channel. It is approved for treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain in adults either alone or in combination with other medicinal products for pain in the EU; it is only approved to treat postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) in the USA. In patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDPN), a single 30-min application of the capsaicin 8 % patch significantly improved pain relief and sleep quality compared with placebo in a 12-week double-blind trial. In a 52-week, randomized trial, up to seven consecutive 30-min treatments with the capsaicin 8 % patch (≤7 treatments each at least 8 weeks apart) plus standard of care therapy was associated with sustained pain relief and no negative neurological safety consequences compared with standard of care. In two randomized trials, a single 60-min application of the capsaicin 8 % patch reduced pain scores significantly more than a low-concentration (0.04 %) capsaicin control patch in patients with PHN. Capsaicin 8 % patch treatment was noninferior to pregabalin (optimized dosage) in a randomized trial in patients with nondiabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. Results in two trials in patients with HIV-AN were equivocal, with a significant improvement in pain intensity observed in one trial, but not in the other. The capsaicin 8 % patch was associated with expected, transient, capsaicin-related application-site adverse events such as erythema and pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage*
  • Capsaicin / adverse effects
  • Capsaicin / pharmacokinetics
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / drug therapy*
  • Pain Management
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Pregabalin / therapeutic use
  • Sensory System Agents / adverse effects
  • Sensory System Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Sensory System Agents / pharmacology
  • Sensory System Agents / therapeutic use
  • Transdermal Patch* / adverse effects


  • Sensory System Agents
  • Pregabalin
  • Capsaicin