Reumatología Clínica (English Edition) Reumatología Clínica (English Edition)
Review Article
Topical capsaicin for pain in osteoarthritis: A literature review
Capsaicina tópica para el dolor de la osteoartritis: una revisión de la literatura
Vânia Guedesa,, , João Paulo Castrob,c, Iva Britod,e
a Family Medicine, Unidade de Saúde Familiar Faria Guimarães, Porto, Portugal
b Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
c Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine of Porto University, Porto, Portugal
d Rheumatology Department, Centro Hospitalar São João, Porto, Portugal
e Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of Porto University, Porto, Portugal
Received 17 April 2016, Accepted 31 July 2016

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder worldwide. The predominant symptom, pain, is usually treated with acetaminophen or oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, although they are associated with a significant risk of side effects. Topical capsaicin may represent an effective and safe alternative.

The aim of this review is to examine the evidence for the efficacy and safety profile of topical capsaicin in the management of pain caused by osteoarthritis. Databases were searched for articles published between 2004 and 2016, in Portuguese, English or Spanish, using the search terms “capsaicin” and “osteoarthritis”. When compared to placebo, it was found that topical capsaicin has a good safety profile and efficacy in reducing osteoarthritis pain of the hand, knee, hip or shoulder. However, the studies have significant limitations, the most important the difficulty of blinding. It is attributed to this review the strength of recommendation B.


La osteoartritis es la enfermedad articular más común mundialmente. El síntoma predominante, el dolor, se trata generalmente con paracetamol oral o antiinflamatorios no esteroideos, a pesar de que están asociados con un riesgo significativo de efectos secundarios. Capsaicina tópica puede representar una alternativa eficaz y segura.

El objetivo de esta revisión es examinar la evidencia disponible acerca de la eficacia y del perfil de seguridad de la capsaicina en el tratamiento del dolor. Se realizaron búsquedas en bases de datos de artículos publicados entre 2004 y 2016, en portugués, inglés o español, utilizando los términos «capsaicina» y «osteoartritis». En comparación con el placebo, la capsaicina tiene un buen perfil de seguridad y eficacia en la reducción del dolor de la osteoartritis de la mano, la rodilla, la cadera o el hombro. Sin embargo, los estudios tienen limitaciones significativas, principalmente la dificultad de cegamiento. Se atribuye a esta revisión una fuerza de recomendación B.

Capsaicin, Osteoarthritis, Pain
Palabras clave
Capsaicina, Osteoartritis, Dolor


To access the full text of the publication Reumatología Clínica (English Edition) you have to be a subscriber or else to be a member of the Colegio Mexicano de Reumatología (CMR) or a member of the Sociedad Española de Reumatología (SER)

  • If you are member of CMR or SER:
    • Please go to the member area of SER SER or CMR and click on the Journal link.
  • If you are a subscriber:
    You can recover your password on "I Forgot my Password"
Cookies Policy
To improve our services and products, we use cookies (own or third parties authorized) to show advertising related to client preferences through the analyses of navigation customer behavior. Continuing navigation will be considered as acceptance of this use. You can change the settings or obtain more information by clicking here.