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The Effect of Ablation of Epidermal Nerve Fibers Using Capsaicin Cream

Information source: Mayo Clinic
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 20, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Pain

Intervention: Capsaicin 0.1% (Drug); Placebo (Drug)

Phase: Phase 1

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: Mayo Clinic

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Peter Dyck, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Mayo Clinic


This is a study of epidermal (the outer most layer) nerve fibers (ENFs) in the skin of the body; counts of which are used to determine a disease of nerves called "small nerve fiber neuropathy." Capsaicin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pain relief. Since 0. 1% capsaicin is known to cause ablation (removal) of ENFs, this study will test whether such ablation results in relief of spontaneous pain, touch, or heat-pain.

Clinical Details

Official title: The Effect of Ablation of Epidermal Nerve Fibers Using 0.1% Capsaicin Cream on Spontaneous Cutaneous Burning Pain, Tactile Hyperalgesia, and Thermal Hyperalgesia: A Controlled, Masked Trial With an N of 1

Study design: Allocation: Non-Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Supportive Care

Primary outcome: Burning pain as measured by a numeric rating scale of 1-10

Secondary outcome:

Tactile hyperalgesia as measured with monofilaments A, B, C, (through I), ranging in providing forces -3, -2, -1 (through +5) In grams

Thermal hyperalgesia as measured by the heat as pain thermode test using CASE IVc

Detailed description: On the first day, two areas of the skin of the subject's right abdomen will be marked and identified as sites A and B. Each day for one week the subject will be asked to grade her degree of discomfort or pain from 1 to 10 at sites marked A and B every two hours beginning at 8 a. m. and ending at 10 p. m. Each day except for Saturday and Sunday touch-pressure sensation will be evaluated using monofilaments and heat pain sensation at sites A and B. Also evaluated will be touch pressure pain at each of these sites. On Thursday of the first week 3 mm punch biopsies of the skin will be obtained from sites A and B and another 3 mm punch biopsy will be obtained on Thursday of the following week from sites A and B. Following the first biopsy, the experimental creams will be applied to sites A and B. One of the experimental creams contains 0. 1% Capsaisin in a bland cream. The second cream contains no Capsaisin. 0. 1% Capsaisin is known to destroy the small fibers, especially pain fibers in the skin. Both the investigators applying the cream and the subject will not know which experimental cream contains the Capsaisin. The creams will be applied on Thursday of the first week but only after all testing and skin biopsies have been done. The creams will be left in place except when testing is being done, and they will not be applied after the second set of skin biopsies has been obtained. The creams will be applied by the investigators and by the subject, care being taken so that the tube marked A is applied to the site marked A, and the tube marked B is applied to the site marked B. Between application to the two sites, investigators and the subject will use different gloves and applicators, carefully washing their hands with soap and water between and after applications. The subject will be asked not to shower or to immerse herself in water but to use sponge baths, avoiding the tested areas, so that the cream does not move to other areas.


Minimum age: 39 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Female.


Inclusion Criteria:

- pain syndrome

- must be able to be in study for one week

Exclusion Criteria:

- not able to be in study for one week

Locations and Contacts

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: June 2013
Last updated: June 19, 2013

Page last updated: August 20, 2015

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