Author(s): Scanlon GC, Wallace MS, Ispirescu JS, Schulteis G
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Intradermal capsaicin is a human pain model that produces reliable pain and sensitization. This model facilitates controlled testing of analgesic efficacy via a crossover design while minimizing confounding variables in clinical pain states and retaining sufficient power with small samples. METHODS: To determine the lowest dose of capsaicin that produces consistent neurosensory measures, we administered 0.1, 1, 10, or 100 microg to healthy volunteers in a blinded manner (N = 19). Pain scores were recorded at 0, 5, 10, 15, and 60 minutes on a visual analog scale from 0 to 100. Areas and intensities of mechanical allodynia (foam brush stimulus) and pinprick hyperalgesia (von Frey test) were quantified at 15 and 60 minutes, as were flare areas. RESULTS: Capsaicin produced dose-dependent increases in spontaneous pain (p = .013), the area and intensity of mechanical allodynia (p = .006 and p < .001, respectively), the area and intensity of pinprick hyperalgesia (p = .010 and p = .014, respectively), and the flare area (p = .010). The 10 microg dose produced greater spontaneous pain than the 1 microg dose (p = .017). The 100 microg dose produced greater spontaneous pain than the 10 microg, but the difference was not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: The 10 and 100 microg capsaicin doses produced robust pain measures across a range of modalities, and lower doses produced minimal effects. Whereas most studies use 100 microg, using a lower dose is reasonable and may facilitate detection of subtle analgesic effects--particularly with nonopioid analgesics--and drugs can be tested in lower doses, minimizing adverse side effects.
This article was published in J Investig Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology