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Papers of the Week

2020 May-Aug

Case Rep Oncol



Capsaicin in the Treatment of Refractory Neuropathic Pain after Mastectomy Surgery: A Case Report.


Flöther L, Avila-Castillo D, Burgdorff A-M, Benndorf R
Case Rep Oncol. 2020 May-Aug; 13(2):997-1001.
PMID: 32999662.


A 62-year-old female patient with a history of mastectomy surgery and sentinel lymphadenectomy in the context of breast cancer therapy was referred to our clinic for the treatment of refractory neuropathic pain. She reported a complex set of symptoms including burning and electrical-like sensations as well as profound hyperesthesia, hyperalgesia, and allodynia. The symptoms persisted chronically over months with a strong intensity and did not sufficiently respond to oral pain medication and co-analgetics, that is, tapentadol and pregabalin. As the patient could hardly move her right upper arm due to the pain, the quality of life was greatly reduced. In addition, the patient reported pain-related anxiety and depression. Therefore, a therapy with capsaicin 8% patch was initiated. Treatment with capsaicin 8% led to pain relief without tolerance development and improved flexibility in the affected body area. Despite significant pain relief, previous oral pain medications (tapentadol, pregabalin) as well as the anti-depressant amitriptyline were maintained to fully resolve pain symptoms, anxiety, and depression. In conclusion, capsaicin 8% may represent an effective therapeutic alternative for patients suffering from refractory neuropathic pain.