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Topical application of doxepin hydrochloride, capsaicin and a combination of both produces analgesia in chronic human neuropathic pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Author(s): McCleane G

Affiliation(s): Pain Clinic, Craigavon Area Hospital, 68 Lurgan Road, Craigavon, BT63QQ5, N. Ireland. Gary@mccleane.freeserve.co.uk

Publication date & source: 2000-06, Br J Clin Pharmacol., 49(6):574-9.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

AIMS: To assess the analgesic efficacy of topical administration of 3.3% doxepin hydrochloride, 0.025% capsaicin and a combination of 3. 3% doxepin and 0.025% capsaicin in human chronic neuropathic pain. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 200 consenting adult patients. Patients applied placebo, doxepin, capsaicin or doxepin/capsaicin cream daily for 4 weeks. Patients recorded on a daily basis overall pain, shooting, burning, paraesthesia and numbness using a 0-10 visual analogue scale during the week prior to cream application (baseline levels) and for the 4 week study period. Side-effects and desire to continue treatment were also recorded. RESULTS: Overall pain was significantly reduced by doxepin, capsaicin and doxepin/capsaicin to a similar extent. The analgesia with doxepin/capsaicin was of more rapid onset. Capsaicin significantly reduced sensitivity and shooting pain. Burning pain was increased by doxepin and by capsaicin and to a lesser extent by doxepin/capsaicin. Side-effects were minor. One patient requested to continue placebo cream, 17 doxepin cream, 13 capsaicin and 9 the combination of doxepin and capsaicin. CONCLUSIONS: Topical application of 3.3% doxepin, 0.025% capsaicin and 3.3% doxepin/0. 025% capsaicin produces analgesia of similar magnitude. The combination produces more rapid analgesia.

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