Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Ouchies… until I read carefully

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-01-08

Nature Clinical Practice Neurology (2009) 5, 6 doi:10.1038/ncpneuro0965 made me wince as I read the title: "A high-dose capsaicin dermal patch provides pain relief in postherpetic neuralgia" – and yes, it’s applied to the painful spot.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive a dermal patch containing a high concentration of capsaicin (640 μg/cm2 [8%]) or a low concentration of capsaicin (3.2 μ/cm2 [0.04%]), which was applied to painful areas for 60 min.

I bet any women readers with Herpes Simplex Virus 2 just crossed their legs when figuring out what capsaicin is!

I get HSV1 lesions when I’m run down (and never use a false base, mainly camphor-based creams), and thought that the capsaicin would sting like mad on a cold sore.  I’ve had Varicella zoster (CDC, wikipedia), so I’ll get Herpes zoster a.k.a. shingles (CDC and wikipedia) when I get old and run down.  (Many people my age went to chickenpox parties as kids, so lots of us are for it!)

But it is for the neuralgia, and for zoster (not simplex as far as I know… and who’d be the guinea pigs!), and the capsaicin patches are only applied once lesions have crusted over.

Thank goodness for that!

And it does seem to control the pain.

Still…. bet a few of you out there winced!

…. And then along comes an image of a granny with shingles attacking a copper with a walking stick and saying "Pepper-spray me, pig".


There were also mumps parties.  Getting mumps as a kid is nowhere near as bad as getting it as an adult male: the orchitis common in adult sufferers is both incredibly painful and often leads to sterility.


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