The long-term effects of capsaicin aqueous spray on the nasal mucosa

Clin Exp Allergy. 1998 Nov;28(11):1351-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.1998.00421.x.


Background: Capsaicin has been shown previously to reduce nasal complaints in patients with a non-allergic non-infectious perennial rhinitis. Proposed pathophysiological mechanisms for non-allergic non-infectious perennial rhinitis include a chronic inflammatory disorder of an antigenic or neurogenic nature as well as the possibility of a functional neuronal disorder. We hypothesized that the beneficial effect of capsaicin might be the result of a down-regulation of inflammation (by a reduction of inflammatory cells) or through modulation of neural tissue density.

Methods: Patients were treated with either a placebo or capsaicin spray solution delivering 0.15 mg of capsaicin per nostril once every second or third day for a total of seven treatments. Both sides were treated each visit. Biopsies were taken before and 2 weeks, 3 months and 9 months after the treatment period. Immunohistochemical staining of the biopsy specimen was performed to ascertain the effect of treatment on immunocompetent cell densities (quantitative) and neural tissue densities (semi-quantitative) in the nasal mucosa.

Results: Nasal complaints were significantly reduced in the capsaicin-treated group. The number of CD1+, CD25+, CD3+, CD68+, BMK13+, IgE+, tryptase+, and chymase+ cells did not significantly differ between capsaicin and placebo group. No significant differences between both groups were found in pan-neurogenic staining of nasal mucosa using neurofilament and synaptophysine.

Conclusion: Capsaicin aqueous nasal spray has previously been shown to reduce nasal complaints without affecting cellular homeostasis or overall neurogenic staining up to 9 months after treatment. Immunocompetent cells are not involved in non-allergic non-infectious perennial rhinitis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Biopsy
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Count / drug effects
  • Chymases
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / cytology
  • Nasal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Nasal Mucosa / pathology
  • Neurofilament Proteins / analysis
  • Rhinitis / drug therapy
  • Rhinitis / pathology
  • Serine Endopeptidases / analysis
  • Synaptophysin / analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tryptases


  • Antigens, CD
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • Synaptophysin
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • chymase 2
  • Chymases
  • Tryptases
  • Capsaicin