Derived from the Capsicum pepper originally. It acts not (just) as a counter-irritant but by depletion of substance P in the spinal cord segment, which appears to be followed by an alteration and reduction in transmission of messages perceived as pain. These actions are mediated through the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 receptor.
Severe burning sensation if allowed to contact mucus membranes or broken skin as in unhealed herpes
Cautions and Interactions
Its toxicity has been well studied and it is generally safe although as it facilitates the toxicity of other compounds, by allowing their entry through say the skin or interacting with N-nitroso compounds to promote carcinogenicity. While in various biological systems it is a weak mutagen it can be both a carcinogen and protective against cancer depending upon the animal and situation studied.
- Avoid taking hot bath/shower just before or after application
- Advise patient on initial burning sensation
- ↑ Final report on the safety assessment of capsicum annuum extract, capsicum annuum fruit extract, capsicum annuum resin, capsicum annuum fruit powder, capsicum frutescens fruit, capsicum frutescens fruit extract, capsicum frutescens resin, and capsaicin. International journal of toxicology. 2007; 26 Suppl 1:3-106.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)