Background and Objective: Treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain (PNP) remains a challenge. In the absence of clear predictors of response, clinical decision-making involves trial and error. While many classes of pharmacological agent are used and have shown efficacy, one of the most commonly used first-line treatments is pregabalin. However, in the 60% of PNP cases in which the pain is localized, a local treatment may be more suitable. This article will summarize the evidence for the relative effectiveness and tolerability of the capsaicin 179 mg patch and pregabalin in the treatment of PNP and highlight the expert opinion of the authors based on their own clinical experiences. Results: When compared in a head-to-head trial in patients with PNP, capsaicin 179 mg patch provided non-inferior pain relief compared with an optimized dose of pregabalin, as well as a reduction in dynamic mechanical allodynia, faster onset of action, fewer systemic side effects, and greater treatment satisfaction. Adverse events associated with capsaicin patch are mainly application site reactions, compared with systemic and central nervous system effects with pregabalin. Studies indicate that capsaicin 179 mg patch is associated with a lower burden of therapy than pregabalin in terms of improved tolerability, lack of a daily pill burden, lack of drug–drug interactions, and increased regimen flexibility. Conclusion: In localized neuropathic pain, evidence supports a pragmatic approach of using a local treatment before considering a systemic treatment. For treatment selection, the patient profile (eg, concomitant medication use, age) and the treatments’ efficacy and tolerability profiles should be considered.

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Journal of Pain Research
Department of Anesthesiology

Huygen, F., Kern, K.U., & Perez, C. (2020). Expert Opinion: Exploring the Effectiveness and Tolerability of Capsaicin 179 mg Cutaneous Patch and Pregabalin in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathic Pain. Journal of Pain Research, 13, 2585–2597. doi:10.2147/jpr.S263054