Need a break from unbearable peripheral pain? A new study by British researchers recommends capsaicin cream, an active constituent of chilli peppers, that will give people suffering peripheral pain - which produces stinging sensations, numbness, weakness, burning pain - some much-needed respite.
Peripheral pains often accompany disorders like diabetes, AIDS, shingles and arthritis; cancer patients can have peripheral neuropathies after receiving their therapies.
Now a team at Oxford University has found that 40 percent people can get some relief from pain by having topical capsaicin cream containing medication.
Sheena Derry and Andrew Moore led the researcher, which compromised nine studies with 1,600 adult volunteers.
The team said that capsaicin cream could be used when the treatment has not been affective.
The report has been published in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library.
However, Scott Zashin, a clinical associate professor of medicine at the Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas, had a different take on the use of capsaicin.
He said: "One lack in this study is a failure to compare capsaicin creams to common counterirritants, such as Ben Gay or Icy Hot. The counterirritants create a warm or cool feeling to distract from the pain and they can be used on an as-needed basis, while capsaicin must be used regularly."
Zashin said the report ignored the "the fact that there are little data looking at the benefit-to-risk ratio of the high dose capsaicin. In addition, patients receiving the high-dose formulation required pretreatment with a local anesthetic preparation. It is unclear if this product is any better than other over-the-counter pain gels and may be more irritating with side effects such as burning."