Rheumatology International

, Volume 33, Issue 10, pp 2665–2670

Short-term efficacy of topical capsaicin therapy in severely affected fibromyalgia patients


  • Benigno Casanueva
    • Rheumatology Service at the Specialist Clinic of Cantabria
  • Baltasar Rodero
    • Rodero Center
  • Covadonga Quintial
    • Neurophysiology ServiceSanta Clotilde Hospital
  • Javier Llorca
    • Department of Epidemiology and Computational Biology, School of MedicineUniversity of Cantabria, IFIMAV
    • Rheumatology ServiceHospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla. IFIMAV
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00296-012-2490-5

Cite this article as:
Casanueva, B., Rodero, B., Quintial, C. et al. Rheumatol Int (2013) 33: 2665. doi:10.1007/s00296-012-2490-5


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the short-term efficacy of topical capsaicin treatment in patients severely affected by fibromyalgia. One hundred and thirty fibromyalgia patients were randomly divided into two groups. The control group, 56 women and 4 men who continued their medical treatment, and the capsaicin group, 70 women who apart from continuing their medical treatment, also underwent topical capsaicin 0.075 % 3 times daily for 6 weeks. At the beginning of the program, there were no significant differences between the two groups in any of the analyzed parameters. At the end of the treatment, there were significant improvements in the capsaicin group in the myalgic score (5.21 vs 3.8, p = 0.02) and global subjective improvement (22.8 vs 5 %, p = 0.001). Six weeks after the end of the treatment, the experimental group showed significant differences in Visual Analogue Scale of depression (5.63 vs 7.35, p = 0.02), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (67.89 vs 77.7, p = 0.02), role limitations due to emotional problems (36.17 vs 17.2, p = 0.05), Fatigue Severity Scale (6.2 vs 6.6, p = 0.04), myalgic score (3.94 vs 2.66, p = 0.02) and pressure pain threshold (79.25 vs 56.71, p = 0.004). In conclusion, patients severely affected by fibromyalgia can obtain short-term improvements following topical capsaicin 0.075 % treatment three times daily for 6 weeks.


FibromyalgiaCapsaicin therapyChronic painClinical assessment

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© Springer-Verlag 2012