Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Drug to manage arthritis pain 'suitable for use'

  • Comment

Capsaicin can be used to help treat rheumatoid arthritis due to its mild side effects, according to a Cochrane review.

Researchers found only 10 trials, involving around 300 patients, on the use of muscle relaxants and neuromodulators for managing rheumatoid arthritis pain.

Their review found no evidence that muscle relaxants were better than placebo at reducing pain and only weak evidence to support neuromodulators such as oral nefopam, topical capsaicin and oromucosal cannabis. But they said the mild adverse events linked with capsaicin meant it could be considered as an “add-on therapy” for persistent local pain.

When looking at muscle relaxants, they found neither the benzodiazepine agents, diazepam and triazolam, nor the non-benzodiazepine agent, zopiclone, reduced pain when taken for one to 14 days. However, even this short use was associated for both agents with drowsiness and dizziness.

When looking at neuromodulators, the researchers found weak evidence that using oral nefopam, topical capsaicin and oromucosal cannabis for one to seven days can reduce pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis better than placebo.

Lead author Bethan Richards, from the Institute of Rheumatology and Orthopedics at Melbourne’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said: “Until further research is available, given the relatively mild nature of the adverse events, capsaicin could be considered as an add-on therapy for patients with persistent local pain and inadequate response or intolerance to other treatments.

“However, oral nefopam and oromucosal cannabis have more significant side effect profiles and the potential harms seem to outweigh any modest benefit achieved,” she added.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs