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Press Release

Nerve pain patients in Wales gain access to first of a kind treatment which can provide lasting pain relief

Astellas Pharma Ltd
Posted on: 20 Mar 12

All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) recommends QUTENZA™? (capsaicin) 8% patch as treatment option for patients in Wales living with difficult-to-treat condition
Egham, UK, 19th March, 2012 - For the first time NHS patients in Wales with peripheral nerve pain (known as peripheral neuropathic pain) can be treated with a patch containing capsaicin, which can provide at least 12 weeks pain relief following a single 30- or 60-minute application.1,2

The capsaicin patch has received a recommendation from the AWMSG for use as an option for the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain (PNP) in non-diabetic adults in combination with other medicinal products for pain and in patients who have not received adequate benefit from, or are intolerant to, alternative conventional treatments.1

Peripheral neuropathic pain is caused by damage to pain-sensing nerves. This nerve damage can happen as a result of a range of different diseases, medications or traumatic injuries. This treatment uses a synthetic form of capsaicin, the substance found in chilli peppers which gives them their ‘heat’, to change the way these pain-sensing nerves work in the area of skin affected.3

Exactly how many people suffer from neuropathic pain is not known but estimates for the percentage of the population affected typically range from 1 to 2%, however some sources estimate prevalence to be as high as 8%.4,5 It is a complex and difficult to treat disorder that can have a detrimental effect on a patient’s quality of life.6,7 Studies suggest that, at present, only around a third of patients receiving treatment for neuropathic pain achieve adequate pain relief.8

“Neuropathic pain is often difficult to manage and can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life. The pain can be difficult to explain and most people affected describe feelings such as pins and needles, stabbing sensation, burning sensation or sometimes sharp shooting pain like an electric shock,” said Dr Arun Bhaskar, Consultant in Pain Medicine, Anaesthesia and Critical Care, the Christie NHS Foundation Trust. "Many conventional treatments are limited by factors such as side-effects and drug-drug interactions which has led to an interest in localised treatments for peripheral neuropathic pain. A single treatment with the capsaicin patch can give people suffering with peripheral neuropathic pain relief for at least 12 weeks, and gives doctors an effective and well tolerated treatment option for this challenging condition.”

The efficacy and safety of the capsaicin patch have been investigated in a clinical trial programme involving 1,327 patients who received at least one application.2 Pain relief can take up to two weeks to take full effect and relief from pain can be maintained for at least twelve weeks following a single application. Significant reductions in pain were achieved with the capsaicin patch when used alone or in combination with other treatments for pain.2

The most commonly reported side effects with the capsaicin patch are transient and self-limiting application site reactions such as pain and erythema that tend to be mild to moderate in intensity.2

Use of conventional therapies for peripheral neuropathic pain can be restricted by factors such as systemic side effects, drug-drug interactions, slow onset of action, the need for titration and multiple daily dosing.9,10,11 Since the capsaicin patch is designed to act on the affected area, only a small amount of capsaicin is absorbed into the body and there is therefore a low potential for systemic side effects2,9,10 such as sedation and dizziness that may be experienced with other treatments currently prescribed for neuropathic pain. The capsaicin patch has to be applied by a healthcare professional.

1.All Wales Medicines Strategy Group Final Appraisal Recommendation C 0412: Capsaicin patch (Qutenza) February 2012
2.Qutenza Summary of Product Characteristics. Available from: Last accessed: 29th February 2012
3.Knotkova H et al. Capsaicin (TRPV1 agonist) therapy for pain relief: Farewell or revival? Clin J Pain 2008;24(2):142-154
4.National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Neuropathic Pain: The pharmacological management of neuropathic pain in adults in non-specialist settings. March 2010. Available from: Last accessed: 29th February 2012
5.Mailis Gagnon A et al. Systematic review of the prevalence of neuropathic pain. Eur J Pain 2007;11(Suppl. 1):S202-S203 [Abstract No. 457]
6.Gálvez R et al. Cross-sectional evaluation of patient functioning and health-related quality of life in patient with neuropathic pain under standard care conditions. Eur J Pain 2007;3:244-55
7.Smith B et al. Health and quality of life associated with chronic pain of predominantly neuropathic origin in the community. Clin J Pain 2007;23:143C9
8.Jensen T et al. Pharmacology and treatment of neuropathic pains. Curr Opin Neurol 2009;22:467-474
9.Backonja M et al. NGX-4010, a high-concentration capsaicin patch, for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia: a randomised, double-blind study. Lancet Neurol 2008;7(12):1106-12
10.Simpson DM et al. Controlled trial of high-concentration capsaicin patch for treatment of painful HIV neuropathy. Neurology 2008;70(24):2305-13
11.O’Connor AB et al. Treatment of neuropathic pain: an overview of recent guidelines. Am J Med 2009;122:S22-32
12.Anand P et al. Topical capsacin for pain management: therapeutic potential and mechanisms of action of the new high-concentration capsaicin 8% patch. Br J Anaesth 107(4):490-502 (2011)
13.Scottish Medicines Consortium: SMC No. (673/11). Available from: Last accessed: 29th February 2012

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Astellas Pharma Ltd
Astellas Pharma Ltd

Last updated on: 20/03/2012

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