Qutenza patches contain the active ingredient capsaicin, which is the substance found naturally in red chilli peppers that gives them their heat. The patches are applied to the skin to relieve nerve pain that has resulted from damage to nerves in the skin. This damage may have been caused by diseases such as shingles or HIV infection, or by certain medicines or other conditions.
The capsaicin is absorbed from the patch through the skin and into the nerves in the area the patch is applied to.
Capsaicin works by desensitising sensory receptors called nociceptors. These receptors are found at the end of nerves. When activated by painful stimuli, they send nerve signals to the spinal cord and brain that result in the perception of pain. When capsaicin binds to these pain receptors it initially causes a painful burning sensation. However, with continued application of the capsaicin, the pain receptors become overloaded and desensitised and this makes them less responsive to painful stimulation. This relieves the nerve pain.
Qutenza patches will be applied to the painful area by a doctor or a nurse wearing special gloves. You should not touch the patches, as this can cause burning or stinging to your hands. The patches can initially cause reddening of the skin and a burning or stinging sensation. However, after a while the capsaicin starts to desensitise the pain receptors so that pain in the area is reduced. To reduce any initial pain, your doctor or nurse will apply a local anaesthetic to the skin before applying the patch. They may also use other painkillers or cooling compresses.
Your doctor or nurse will remove the patches after 30 minutes if you’re being treated for nerve pain on your feet or after 60 minutes if you’re being treated for nerve pain on other parts of your body. It can then take from 1 to 14 days for the full pain relief to take effect.
The treatment may be repeated every 90 days if necessary.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
No significant interactions have so far been reported with this medicine. However, you should tell your doctor what other medicines you are taking before starting treatment with this medicine, and likewise, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines once you have started treatment. This includes medicines bought without a prescription and herbal medicines.
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