Intranasal capsaicin reduces nasal hyperreactivity in idiopathic rhinitis: a double-blind randomized application regimen study


J. B. van Rijswijk
Outpatient Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Erasmus MC
Room D-127
Dr. Molewaterplein 40
3015 GD Rotterdam
The Netherlands


Background:  In a recent study, we showed that intranasal capsaicin spray gives a significant and long-term reduction of symptoms in nonallergic noninfectious perennial rhinitis patients. However, in daily practice, the studied application regimen proved to be impractical because of the large number of visits required in a short period of time. In the present study, we conducted a double-blind double-dummy parallel groups trial to determine whether a more practical capsaicin application schedule is equally effective.

Methods:  Thirty patients were randomized into two different treatment regimens: one group received capsaicin five times on the first day at 1-h intervals. This was followed by a placebo dummy once every second or third day for a total of five treatments 2 weeks after the capsaicin application (group A). The other group (B) received the placebo dummy five times on the first day followed by capsaicin once every second or third day for a total of five treatments 2 weeks after the placebo application.

Results:  The visual analogue scale scores for overall nasal symptoms, rhinorrhea and nasal blockage showed significant decrease after the start of treatment in both groups, with a significantly steeper decrease in group A. A significant reduction in cold dry air dose responsiveness was also found up to 9 months after therapy in both groups, reflecting a decrease in nasal hyperreactivity. No significant changes in safety data (smell, blood pressure, heart rate) were found.

Conclusions:  We conclude that intranasal capsaicin seems safe to use and that five treatments of capsaicin on a single day is at least as effective as five treatments of capsaicin in 2 weeks.