A "burning" therapy for burning mouth syndrome: Preliminary results with the administration of topical capsaicin

L Azzi, F Croveri, L Pasina, M Porrini, R Vinci, M Manfredini, L Tettamanti, A Tagliabue, J Silvestre-Rangil, F Spadari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Burning mouth syndrome is defined as an intraoral burning sensation for which no medical or dental cause can be found. Recently, researchers have demonstrated an altered trophism of the small nerve fibres and alterations in the numbers of TRPV-1 vanilloid receptors. Capsaicin is a molecule that is contained in hot peppers and is specifically detected by TRPV-1 vanilloid receptors that are distributed in the oral mucosae. We aimed at verifying if topical capsaicin could prove to be an effective treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome. A group of 99 BMS patients were recruited. We subdivided the BMS patients into two groups: The collaborative patients, who expressed a predominantly neuropathic pattern of symptoms, and the non-collaborative patients, who were characterised by stronger psychogenic patterns of the syndrome. Both groups underwent topical therapy with capsaicin in the form of a mouth rinse 3 times a day for a long period. After 1 year of treatment, the final overall success rate was approximately 78%, but with a significant difference in the success rates of the two groups of patients (87% and 20% among the collaborative and non-collaborative patients, respectively; p=0.000). The use of topical capsaicin can improve the oral discomfort of BMS patients, especially during the first month of therapy, but it is more effective for those patients in which the neuropathic component of the syndrome is predominant. Our hypothesis is that chronic stimulation with capsaicin leads to decreases in burning symptoms. This phenomenon is called desensitisation and is accompanied by substantial improvements in oral symptoms. © Copyright by BIOLIFE, s.a.s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number2, Suppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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