• atopic dermatitis;
  • capsaicin;
  • dogs;
  • Substance P

Abstract The efficacy of twice daily topical application of capsaicin (0.025%) for the management of pruritus in dogs with atopic dermatitis (AD) was evaluated in double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Twelve dogs with AD were randomly assigned to either 0.025% capsaicin or vehicle lotion applied twice daily for 6 weeks. After a 4-week wash-out period, treatments were switched. Significant improvement was reported by owners (P = 0.0006), but not by investigators. Owners noted temporary worsening of pruritus after the first week of capsaicin therapy. Overall capsaicin was well tolerated. Substance P (SP) concentrations in the skin did not correlate with the severity of the pruritus and did not change significantly over time and between treatments. Lesional skin had less SP than nonlesional skin (P = 0.03). These observations suggest that topical capsaicin should be further evaluated as an adjunctive antipruritic agent in dogs with AD.