February 5, 2021 by Alan Khadavi
Here’s the full update and thank-you Alan for sharing
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 (ei, 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.
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.
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.
I have several reasons to write about “non-allergic” rhinitis.
- Granted, this is the allergy season, but not everything that sneezes is allergy. Patients are always confused when skin testing is negative, yet they have consistent “allergy symptoms”. Heck, I even use the term “allergy” when I’m writing about non-allergic rhinitis.
- Allergy has to have IgE (that’s the molecule binding to both allergens and subsequently to the mast cell causing histamine release). No IgE, no allergies and unfortunately, no allergy shots will work.
- As Alan has mentioned, the typical nasal sprays such as Flonase and other nasal steroids don’t work well for this condition. Much of what you see advertised on TV is designed to encourage you to buy intranasal steroids, but many of those conditions are “non-allergic” rhinitis and listening to the TV ads won’t do you a bit of good.
- I would disagree with the incidence of “non-allergic” rhinitis @ 30%–it’s more like the majority of rhinitis sufferers at ~70% and maybe more during the winter.
- It is true that treatment of “non-allergic” rhinitis is frustrating because of lack of good nasal sprays, but PLEASE don’t give yourself capsaicin or hot pepper sauce in the nose before getting a prescription to dilute those hot babies down or you’ll be swearing at me all the way to the ER. Pepper spray will reduce that runny nose only if you compound the formula by an experienced pharmacist and deliver it into the nose carefully. Police grade pepper spray will get you into a whole lot of trouble!
- As a research project, I’m looking into using nasal challenges for patients who have local allergic rhinitis and this may provide some additional use of desensitization even though skin testing and blood work is all negative for IgE. More on that later.
- Bottom line: Not all that sneezes is allergy and a significant number of patients have runny nose, sneezing and sinus infections without having the opportunity to use allergy shots for desensitization.
- If this is you, there is hope. See your local allergist for discussion about Astelin, Atrovent (hardly ever used), and if needed, I can work in conjunction with a local compounding pharmacy to get some capscaicin spray to help with that sneezing.
In the meantime, enjoy your tacos!