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'Chilli targets pain relief'

A substance found in chilli peppers has been used to create a painkiller, which wipes out pain without the usual side-effects of conventional anaesthetics, such as unconsciousness and paralysis, reports The Independent.

A substance found in chilli peppers has been used to create a painkiller, which wipes out pain without the usual side-effects of conventional anaesthetics, such as unconsciousness and paralysis, reports The Independent.

The Source

The study published in Nature found that an anaesthetic, in the presence of the active ingredient in chilli peppers, capsaicin, was only able to enter pain-sensing neurones and inhibit their action. Rats, injected with capsaicin and the lidocaine derivative QX-314, had higher pain thresholds but no motor or tactile deficits.

Expert view

Professor Anthony Dickenson, professor of neuropharmacology at University College London said that although the idea of selectively targeting pain relief is a good idea capsaicin-based analgesics were 'a long way down the line'. He said that issues regarding safety and how to deliver capsaicin to the site of the pain, were major issues that had to be addressed.

'For well-localised pain it would be fine, but many patients with chronic pain have diffuse pain over large areas, and getting it to all parts of a leg or a back or something is not practical at the moment,' he said.

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