Advancing Nursing Practice: Management of Neuropathic Pain With Capsaicin 8% Without Physician Supervision

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Abstract

Purpose/Aims:

The purpose of this study was to examine the management of patient’s neuropathic pain with capsaicin 8% in a nurse-led clinic when administered by 1 registered advanced nurse practitioner without physician supervision.

Design:

A longitudinal, single-group, descriptive research design was used to assess pain scores and quality of life 3 times over 3 months after treatment.

Methods:

Patients with a diagnosis of neuropathic pain were assessed and treated with capsaicin 8% by 1 advanced nurse practitioner with prescriptive authority in a nurse-led clinic. Pain scores were collected at baseline, and self-assessed pain, activity level, and quality of life were assessed at 1 week, 4 weeks, and 3 months after treatment. Twenty-four patients were recruited, and data were analyzed using Friedman’s test. In post hoc analysis, Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used with Bonferroni correction.

Results:

Pain scores differed from pretreatment to posttreatment at each of the 3 time points, at rest (χ23 = 20.54, P = .001) and on movement (χ23 = 23.644, P = .001), and remained significant after Bonferroni correction. Overall, 62.5% (n = 15) of patients achieved at least a 30% reduction in self-reported pain at rest from pretreatment to 3 months, and 54% (n = 13) achieved the same reduction in pain on movement. Most improvements in patient’s quality of life occurred between 1 and 4 weeks. Patient satisfaction was high, with 83% stating that they would be happy to have the treatment repeated.

Conclusion:

Single-dose capsaicin 8% decreased neuropathic pain after being administered in an outpatient setting by an experienced registered advanced nurse practitioner. Further multicenter research led by advanced nurse practitioners is needed to support high-quality, safe treatment of neuropathic pain with high-concentration capsaicin in nurse-led chronic pain clinics.

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