Researchers at the Juliana Marie Center, Copenhagen, Denmark, conducted tests on patients, and found that the drug reduced pain for at least three days following groin hernia surgery.
The study, presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2007 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, included 41 men undergoing open (not laparoscopic) groin hernia repair with mesh.
Half of the men received 1,000 micrograms of ultra purified capsaicin (an odourless, flavourless substance) directly into their wounds during surgery. The remaining patients were given a placebo.
All of the study participants received ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
After the research, it was found that patients in the capsaicin group had significantly lower pain scores during the three days following surgery, compared to the patients who had received the placebo. There were no significant differences in average pain scores after this period.
The findings showed pain relief "without any clinically important side effects," said study author Eske K. Aasvang, M.D., anesthesiology research fellow, Juliana Marie Center, Copenhagen, Denmark.
"The potential for a much longer duration- potentially weeks- of pain relief induced by a single administration of ultra purified capsaicin should be investigated in patients with severe postoperative pain," Dr. Aasvang said.