Clinical trial looks at the effect of common pain cream on the heart

Oct 28, 2010
Neal Weintraub

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at UC are looking for patients to participate in a clinical trial that may determine whether or not a common, over-the-counter pain salve rubbed on the skin could be an effective treatment for heart disease.

UC Health cardiologists are studying the effects following the application of capsaicin cream to the abdomen of patients who experience chest pain during exertion, otherwise known as stable angina.

Capsaicin is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. It is also the in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief.

Capsaicin is approved for use by the U.S. and is available over the counter.

"This project follows an occurrence that was discovered in the lab of Dr. Keith Jones in 2009,” says Neal Weintraub, MD, director of the division of cardiovascular diseases and Mable S. Stonehill chair of cardiology.

Jones, PhD, a researcher in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, discovered that applying capsaicin to the abdomen of mice activated sensory nerves in the skin which then sent signals to protect the heart muscle from damage during an experimentally induced heart attack.

"Patients with stable angina typically experience limitations in blood flow to the heart during exercise which impairs their functional capacity,” he says. "In some patients, these symptoms do not respond satisfactorily to conventional treatments, such as medications, angioplasty or bypass surgery.

"We believe that capsaicin applied to the abdomen of these patients may lead to improvements in symptoms and exercise tolerance.”

In this clinical trial, researchers led by Faisal Kahn, MD, will apply either a placebo or capsaicin cream to the abdomen of patients prior to conducting an exercise treadmill test.

Heart rate, blood pressure and electrocardiogram changes will be measured, and symptoms will be recorded.

Participants will undergo additional exercise tests at one-week intervals. The data will then be analyzed to determine whether or not capsaicin is effective.

"This study will help us determine possible clinical applications for as it relates to angina,” Weintraub continues. "This has tremendous potential and could eventually improve the quality of life for patients with .”

This study is investigator-initiated. Weintraub is a founder of CardioCeption, LLC, formed in 2009 along with co-founders Jones and Clint Dederick, chairman and managing member, to license and commercialize the technology developed at UC.

Explore further: Infant cooing, babbling linked to hearing ability

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study reveals capsaicin can act as cocarcinogen

Sep 02, 2010

The September cover story of the nation's leading cancer journal, Cancer Research, features a new study from The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, that links capsaicin, a component of chili peppers, to skin cancer ...

New evidence that chili pepper ingredient fights fat

Jun 02, 2010

Scientists are reporting new evidence that capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their kick, may cause weight loss and fight fat buildup by triggering certain beneficial protein changes in the body. ...

Chili peppers help to unravel the mechanism of pain

Feb 24, 2009

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, is most often experienced as an irritant, but it may also be used to reduce pain. A new work published by Drs. Feng Qin and Jing Yao in this week's PLoS Bi ...

Recommended for you

Infant cooing, babbling linked to hearing ability

7 hours ago

Infants' vocalizations throughout the first year follow a set of predictable steps from crying and cooing to forming syllables and first words. However, previous research had not addressed how the amount ...

Developing 'tissue chip' to screen neurological toxins

8 hours ago

A multidisciplinary team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research is creating a faster, more affordable way to screen for neural toxins, helping flag chemicals that ...

Gene mutation discovered in blood disorder

12 hours ago

An international team of scientists has identified a gene mutation that causes aplastic anemia, a serious blood disorder in which the bone marrow fails to produce normal amounts of blood cells. Studying a family in which ...

Airway muscle-on-a-chip mimics asthma

14 hours ago

The majority of drugs used to treat asthma today are the same ones that were used 50 years ago. New drugs are urgently needed to treat this chronic respiratory disease, which causes nearly 25 million people ...

User comments : 0