[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 4, 1990

Compliance Problems, Placebo Effect Cloud Trials of Topical Analgesic

JAMA. 1990;264(1):13-14. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450010013002

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


THE ACTIVE AGENT in hot peppers is getting bland reviews from most clinicians who try it as topical treatment for peripheral neuropathies.

Basic scientists, meanwhile, say the mechanism of action of capsaicin makes it a tantalizing research tool. (Please see accompanying article.)

Results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 8-week trial in 277 patients with diabetic neuropathy indicate 0.075% topical capsaicin ointment (Axsain, Galen-Pharma, Northbrook, Ill) is effective, says Rup Tandan, MD.

Much skepticism greeted his results at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Miami Beach. But he says those ready to give up on capsaicin are not making sure patients use it right.

Tandan, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, says pain relief was reported by 75% of patients who received this treatment vs 45% of those who received a placebo. But the benefit became statistically significant only after 4 weeks, when several