Capsaicin nasal spray may be an effective treatment for patients who have nonallergic rhinitis. A significant proportion (25-30%) of patients suffering from rhinitis have nasal symptoms without an infection or allergies, this is referred to nonallergic rhinitis. Up to 50% of these patients have idiopathic rhinitis after excluding work, elderly, gustatory, hormonal and drug induced rhinitis. Nasal steroid sprays are ineffective for this condition. Astelin, Atrovent are nasal sprays that have also been used for this condition and they have showed some improvement. But for others, these treatment options have failed. Capsaicin is the active ingredient of chili peppers. It is available as an over-the-counter nasal spray (eg, Sinus Buster, Sinus Plumber, others).
Capsaicin is another treatment option available for patients with idiopathic rhinitis. This treatment has limitations though, it can be uncomfortable, time consuming and incompletely understood in terms of its working mechanism. Research for better capsaicin treatment is needed.
A recent study looked at 2 different dosing of capsaicin nasal sprays to see if it could suppress nasal symptoms. Daily nasal administration of low-dose capsaicin was well tolerated and reduced nasal symptoms. The study also evaluated the levels of Substance P which has been shown to be higher in patients with idiopathic rhinitis.
Symptom reduction was seen between 70-80% of patients with idiopathic rhinitis. Daily administration of low dose capsaicin was well tolerated and reduced nasal symptoms. Levels of Substance P were reduced and there was a positive correlation between Substance P and nasal obstruction, suggesting that rhinitis symptoms result from abnormally increased Substance P levels. As Substance P increases mucus secretion, suppressing it might represent a novel approach.
In conclusion, capsaicin low dose is effective in suppressing nasal symptoms and it may be a good, novel option for patients with non-allergic rhintis.
This study looked at different concentrations of Capsaicin nasal spray. There are various different manufacturers of Capsaicin spray, although the exact concentration isn’t well defined. As always speak to your doctor before beginning any treatment. Patients who participated in this study were excluded from any allergies or infections prior to beginning treatment.