Qutenza is a prescription drug used to treat postherpetic neuralgia (pain that occurs after having a case of shingles). This medication works by binding to and stimulating certain nerve receptors. It comes in the form of a patch that can provide pain relief for up to 12 weeks. Skin reactions at the application site are the most common side effects of this medication.
What Is Qutenza?Qutenza™ (capsaicin 8% patch) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of nerve pain that occurs after a case of shingles (known medically as postherpetic neuralgia). A single, one-hour application of the patch can provide pain relief that lasts up to 12 weeks.
(Click Qutenza Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
How Does It Work?
Qutenza contains capsaicin, a chemical naturally found in peppers. When applied to the skin, capsaicin initially binds to and stimulates a certain receptor known as the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 receptor (TRPV1). This causes a sensation of burning and pain. This is followed by pain relief that can last for several weeks.
It is thought that the pain relief is caused by a decrease in nerve endings that contain TRPV1. As the nerve endings gradually regrow, pain will gradually return.
Clinical Effects of QutenzaThis medication has been thoroughly evaluated in clinical studies. These studies compared Qutenza to a low-dose capsaicin patch (such as those available without a prescription). These studies demonstrated that Qutenza was significantly more effective than the low-dose patches for relieving postherpetic neuralgia pain for at least 12 weeks.