Question - Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, has been used as a local treatment for pain. What is the mechanism of action of capsaicin with regard to the treatment of local pain?
Answer- The cited article notes “Capsaicin, which is the active pungent ingredient in chili peppers, activates the transient receptor potential vanilloid channel of small peripheral sensory nerves. The effect of repeated applications or of a single high-dose application is thought to occur through desensitization and a temporary reduction in the number of pain fibers in the skin. (Finnerup NB. Nonnarcotic methods of pain management. 2019 NEJM380:2440-2448)