Treatment of the post-mastectomy pain syndrome with topical capsaicin

Pain. 1993 Aug;54(2):223-226. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(93)90213-9.


Twenty-one patients with post-mastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS) were entered in an open-label trial of topical 0.025% capsaicin treatment (3 daily applications for 2 months). Out of 19 evaluable patients, 2 (10.5%) reported complete disappearance of all symptoms, and 11 (57.9%) had a reduction of pain which was never worse than mild at the end of treatment. Three months after cessation of treatment, 11 of 13 of the responding patients continued to have good pain relief, with only 1 continuing to use capsaicin. Treatment was well tolerated with no drop-out due to side effects. This is the first independent confirmation of the usefulness of capsaicin in the PMPS, following the recent publication of a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study showing significant pain relief with 0.075% capsaicin but not with vehicle cream. Further experimental and clinical research on the properties of capsaicin in other painful peripheral neuropathies is desirable.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*


  • Capsaicin