Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Font Size

Chili Pepper, Botox Injections Help Ease Pain

Capsaicin Injections Soothe Osteoarthritis; Botox Helps Many Types of Pain
WebMD Health News

April 5, 2005 (Boston) -- Injections of the active ingredient found in red-hot chili peppers may produce lasting pain relief in people withknee osteoarthritis.

And injections of Botox, the popular wrinkle-smoothing drug, may treat many painful ailments, say experts who presented evidence at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society in Boston.

Capsaicin Is Hot

When injected into knees of six people with severe osteoarthritis, 1,000 micrograms of capsaicin, the substance that gives chili peppers its heat and kick, reduced pain significantly more than placebo, the researchers showed.

Relief lasted up to five weeks. It's unclear if pain relief would have lasted longer because the patients were only followed for up to six weeks.

Though capsaicin is available in over-the-counter creams and rubs to treat pain, these agents are only mildly effective. Researchers hope that by injecting capsaicin directly into the arthritic joint, it may better numb the pain.

Approval a Few Years Away

The new capsaicin drug, called ALGRX 4975, is under development by AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. It would be several years before such a product would be available on the market if approved by the FDA.

"We anticipate that the effects will last for three months, but until the studies are done we will not know for sure," says researcher Beth Vause, executive director of clinical and regulatory operations at AlgoRx. She says the compound is also being tested in other types of pain such as nerve pain and postoperative pain.

In the study, the only side effect was brief, burning pain at the site of the injection.

Botox Not Just for Wrinkles

Botox is known to be great for wrinkles, but it also works against various conditions that cause pain. In one study of 37 people with a variety of painful disorders including diabetic nerve pain,temporomandibular joint disease, the wrist pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, neck spasms, and headache, one injection of Botox produced an average 68% decrease in pain lasting 8.5 weeks.

In this study, the Botox toxin was injected under the skin, not in the muscle or joint as it has been in studies of back pain. More studies are now under way, according to researchers from Anodyne Pain Care in Dallas.

Today on WebMD

elderly hands
Even with arthritis pain.
woman exercising
Here are 7 easy tips.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
Keep Joints Healthy
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
close up of man with gut
man knee support
woman with cold compress
Man doing tai chi
hand gripping green rubber ball
person walking with assistance