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Chili Pepper, Botox Ease Pain

chili peppers many colors
AP
Injections of the active ingredient found in red-hot chili peppers may produce lasting pain relief in people with knee 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.