Capsaicin is being
tested for the treatment of two diseases of the nose and sinuses.
The first study targets headaches of nasal or sinus origin (also
known as rhinogenic headache). These headaches commonly are referred
to as "sinus" headaches because the trigger points are
located in the nose.
Capsaicin is what makes
the red peppers hot. It is extracted and then diluted so that it
The School of Medicine,
Saint Louis University, has initiated two unique studies with capsaicin.
Taken in the form of a nasal spray, researchers hope to treat sinus-related
headaches and chronic nasal congestion.
The second study seeks
to determine the effectiveness of capsaicin nasal spray for hyperreflexive
rhinopathy, which is a condition that is characterized by chronic
nasal congestion and thin, watery nasal drainage.
Patients with hyperreflexive
rhinopathy (also known as vasomotor rhinitis) don't suffer from
allergies, and the condition can last for years.
are miserable, and nothing really seems to help," said Martin
J. Citardi, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology, head and
neck surgery. "For these headaches and this chronic nasal congestion
there really are no good treatments. We are hopeful that capsaicin
will help these patients."
Citardi said, "capsaicin
inactivates a certain kind of nerve fiber that contributes to the
chronic runny nose and the headaches. By inactivating the nerve
fiber, the underlying problem is treated. The inactivation should
be permanent, but some patients may need to be re-treated. The nasal
spray is administered at home, and needs to be taken daily for a